Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Highs and Lows

Sometimes I wonder if every one's life is as filled with highs and lows as mine is. I know a lot of it is the nature of my job and my position. There are days when I am very busy and then there are days when the hours I work prevent me from accomplishing a lot at work. Some days I work on stories that are very rewarding on a personal level, while other days the stories are dry and just something to get done.

This week is also full of highs and lows so far. I am always excited to help out with my church's rummage sale. It's a twice yearly sale and I am in charge of the clothes in the boutique section. This week's rummage sale feels like extra work due to different circumstances and because of my busy schedule. But the sale definitely has its rewards. Besides helping raise money for missions, I usually find some very nice things, such as my crystal decanter and shot glasses, my aluminum cake keeper, my white vintage coat and my vintage cashmere sweater. Tomorrow, I will spend a lot of time there sorting, hanging and pricing the clothes.

It's hard for me to feel excited about the rummage sale or anything else knowing what I have to do today. I offered last week to go to the funeral for the latest soldier with ties to Waukesha County to be killed in Iraq. I did the story when we first learned that he had been killed. I wanted to cover the funeral for a couple selfish reasons: I could work days and I could get out of the office. Also, I felt a connection to this man and his family, whom I talked with, and I knew that it would be best if the story process continued with me.

Now, however, I am dreading covering his visitation today. It's up north near Green Bay, which I knew, but I am not looking forward to driving there and back by myself. Also, I still have to work nights. The biggest obstacle is taking pictures of the event today. People often don't mind talking, but it feels kind of intrusive to be there with my camera taking pictures. The one good thing is that the visitation, military walk-through and military service will be held in the high school's gymnasium, so that makes it more open and less personable than a funeral home. It will definitely be a challenge for me that I hope will have its rewards by helping me become a better reporter and photographer. It also feels good to know that my editors trust me with this much responsibility.

I already did one obit story about a longtime New Berlin principal this week, so I hope that after today, I will get a break from the dead beat again. It's ironic though, that the obit stories I write, I get the most positive feedback from. Often, the family will contact me and thank me for doing the story. I never knew that stories like that would touch so many people.

So, I just have to get through today and enjoy working at the rummage sale tomorrow during work day, which is when the pot luck lunch is! Yummy.


"If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further."
--Mohandas K. Gandhi

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