An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Best Seat in the House

Some of you may know that I work from home as a writer.

I really love my job. I love being able to contribute to our family income from home and I love having the chance to write. But in order to write the articles I have to first conduct a phone interview, and I am not good at interviewing.

Oh, I am prepared with questions, I do preliminary research, and I know exactly where I want to go with the article, but the problem is that five minutes into the interview it's not an interview any more. It's a conversation.

Through these interviews, I have encountered people who are so interesting, so inspiring, and so full of faith that I forget my questions and want to just to buy them a cappuccino and sit and listen to them talk.

Recently I interviewed a man in Illinois who takes communion to the elderly and homebound every single Friday. When he told me how humbling it was to witness a cancer patient's connectedness to God through the Holy Eucharist, his voice trembled. Hearing his emotion made me teary-eyed and then, there we were, two strangers crying over the phone.

I interviewed a Catholic art teacher on a special scholarship and working on an Indian reservation. When I asked him about his very interesting last name, he explained to me that his father was full-blooded American Indian and that his mother was Italian. Well. I ask you, how could I not take that further? So we spoke for a long time about many things ... just not his scholarship.

On a recent article I did on Advent, I spoke with a priest who passionately shared why Advent was his favorite liturgical season. He quoted that it was time for spiritual renewal and preparation. He pointed out the readings from Isaiah and the prophets, the beautiful references to the lion and the lamb, and the visions of peace and social justice. I could have listened to him forever.

Truly, I may not conduct an interview very professionally, but with each one I get a tiny glimpse of how many good people there are in this world.

With the news focused on wars, murders, and greedy politicians it's comforting knowing that in Iowa there is a couple married for 53 years who still serve their parish as adult altar servers; or that in Texas there is a priest who learned Spanish so he could connect with his new parish; or that in Oklahoma there is a retired Hispanic couple who recite the rosary together while they clean their parish every Monday morning; or that a mother in South Dakota, after tragically losing her son, is still so full of the love of God that she became a CCD teacher to honor her son's memory; or that a group of doctors back from a mission trip to Guatemala are still humbled at the generosity from the very people they had gone to help.

Yes, there are bad things that happen in this world; we know this because we face it every day in the news. Bad news make headlines, but I see why God loves us so much. From His vantage point he sees it all. The bad, yes, but also all that is good.

And there is so much that is good.

Santuario Madonna della Corona
(near Verona)


Therese said...

What a great job! And how wonderful all the things you are seeing/learning!

Soutenus said...

Bia! I think I knew somewhwere in the recesses of my brain that is what you did BUT I never fully imagined your day to day activities for work.

Is there any ethical and approved way you are allowed to post your articles? Could you start a second blog to chronicle them? Would you have to change names and not divulge locations (THAT would make it a lot of extra work)
Could you get permission from people to post the articles?

Actually -- it would make a terrific BOOK!

Kathryn said...

Now this is a job I would LOVE, how wonderful!

Lisa said...

This is the PERFECT job for you, Bia! I can just see how good you must be at this. The best interviewers make their interviewees comfortable enough to have a real conversation ~ because that's when you get to the heart of the person, really. I'm with Peggy ~ I would LOVE to read some of your articles! (Btw ~ you'd asked me some time ago about my illustrating job, can you e-mail me and I'll fill you in on what happened with that?)

E said...

Yes but your articles will have the same breadth and heart that your interviews do. They too will be conversations only with your readers. I love how you find the humanity in every interview.
And God..I always think of God like a loving benevolent parent. Surely we see the mistakes our kids make, the messes, the bad things, but we focus on the best and help them cultivate those parts of themselves. We love them fiercely and their errors make us more determined to help them never less.
That is how I imagine God sees all of us....

Laura said...

I love anything that provides me with the reassurance that people are good and seekiing to do good.
What an inspiring job you have.

Kim H. said...

It sounds like the "fringe" benefits of the job might just outweigh the job itself. :)

Married to a researcher that asks questions for a living, I know first-hand that sometimes it's not always about the 'question', but about the genuine connection.