you can only take so much. and yet daily i’m faced with rejection.

it’s most likely my punishment for my choice of profession…. but the morning started off so well. three solid possibilities. one of those was a fantastic story. but if they aren’t answering their phones, their secretaries are answering for them. mumbled excuses or sweetly promising something, anything to get me off the phone… promises that can’t be kept and yet they speak them. then there are the messages and voice mails that go unanswered. the best would have to be when i was sent to voice mail deliberately. or the county executive who went to lunch early and stayed late to avoid me. i’m hardly an investigative reporter uncovering some scandalous activity with government funds…

it’s agricultural safety awareness week… virginians are being asked to “step to plate” when it comes to safety. yesterday i interviewed a man who has been teaching middle school for 44 years. he lost both legs in a farm accident 28 years ago. that is my entire life he has gone without his legs. 1978, knowing better, he got off his tractor to check for an odd sound in the back. that’s when he was caught. he probably should have died. much like my sister should have just two years ago. but he lived and now he teaches 7th graders agriscience. he oversees FFA kids.

how did he not become bitter after his accident?

“much prayer” he says.

the bell rings and the kids scatter to the next class. happy to remove the awkward shoppe goggles. we speak a little bit longer. i tell him about my sister’s leg. for some reason i think it’s appropriate. he says when she comes to visit he’ll have us over to dinner. just like that. he realizes i’m new in town. asks if i have a church.

“yes, it’s over on 42.” he smiles. i’m not quite sure if he heard me with all the wood cutting noises in the background…

“seeing as you’re new to the area” he says, “i’ll invite you to my church. we’re happy to have you over anytime.”

i say thank you, almost wishing i needed a church, just so i won’t be the one rejecting mr. mitchell.


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