If you had asked me one year ago what I would be doing right now, in November 2012, I would have told you, “I have no idea.”
I was finishing my master's degree in journalism at MU, starting to look at jobs and leaning toward heading west to California or Idaho – places that feel like home to me. Places closer to my family. Places where I feel like part of a community.
Then, I got this job. I became editor of Columbia Faith & Values and the religion news producer at KBIA 91.3 FM. And I committed to sinking my roots deeper into Columbia – at least for a few years.
And now, this place feels like home. I've fallen in love with this town, and in many ways, that's thanks to all of you – the readers and writers who help make Columbia Faith and Values possible.
Each person I've met has taught me something, not just about religion, but about life. Each person I've talked to has welcomed me openenly and been ready to share. And with each person I meet, the more I get to know the community, the more I feel like part of it.
I'm thankful for the chances I've had to be part of the faith communities within our one large community. Last weekend, I celebrated Diwali with the Hindu community. Early last week, I celebrated the birthday of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith, with a group gathered cozily in the living room of a Baha'i family. Earlier this week, I spoke at a Thanksgiving celebration at Memorial Baptist Church and had the chance to get to know the people there. I've had coffee with atheists, pagans, Christians and more. I've gone to Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha with the Muslim community and a history event with the Mormon community. I've gone to events where a rabbi, a priest and an agnostic speak together in the same room.
On Sunday, when I walked into a room of people from many faiths at an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, I thought, “This is my community.”
And for that, I'm thankful.
I'm thankful for the community of writers who contribute to ColumbiaFAVS – their voices and insight make the site what it is, and they constantly make me think in different ways.
I'm thankful for the community of students who have eagerly jumped on board with this project – they bring so much energy and so many ideas, and I can't imagine doing this without them.
I'm also thankful for the larger community I'm part of nationwide. I'm thankful for the community of religion reporters I find support from through Religion Newswriters Association. I'm thankful for the editors and reporters at Religion News Service, our national media partner – they've taught me so much.
I'm thankful for partner faith and values sites across the country, and for the support and inspiration we editors find in each other. Although we're spread out, there's a sense of community among SpokaneFAVS, WilmingtonFAVS, ColumbiaFAVS, ToledoFAVS and HartfordFAVS.
I'm thankful for the news team at KBIA 91.3 FM – it's a great team to be part of, and everyone is so willing to share expertise and feedback. I'm thankful for all who regularly tune in – it's so encouraging to meet people who appreciate radio and to know that what I'm doing means something to people. It's humbling.
I'm thankful for the people at the Columbia Missourian who helped me become the journalist I am today, and I'm thankful for the chance to stay connected as another local media partner.
All of this is to say that this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for community. And thank you for letting me be part of yours. Thank you.
If you want to say “thank you” to Columbia Faith & Values, please consider making a tax-deductible donation!