This column is one I didn’t want to write, so I’ll keep it brief (haha) and get it out of the way this week instead of next.
I’ve never been good at Goodbye’s. Sometimes I skip them altogether. But writing this column meant too much to me to not say a few words.
Four sweet years ago, in the May 5th issue of 2015, the Pioneer ran the first Angle Full of Grace column. In it I quoted Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
That line, “a heart full of grace”, was the inspiration for the title of the column. While I’ve always liked it, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t regret it a time or two. It served as a useful insult when people wrote in disagreeing with something I’d written here.
Writing this column changed me. It changed what my life looks like. That said, I continue to be a stubborn believer in Everything Works Out Perfectly, and I wouldn’t go back and censor myself now even though the lessons were painful. In fact, if I were to change anything, I probably would’ve taken more risks. There were so many topics I wanted to write about yet. I always figured that I would get around to them when I was brave enough. I would gather my nerve, thicken my skin and go rattle some more cages. I’d piss off a few more readers, collect another Letter to the Editor or two and diligently chip away at the patriarchy bit by tiny bit.
Still, I’m getting awfully tired of taking life so darn seriously. Everything written here will fade into the shadowy memories of the past. Eventually, the physical newspaper will turn to dust and though the ideas may live on, the order of the words I used will be forgotten. It’ll all be gone.
Well, except for that pesky Internet thing.
Over the years, I’ve posted my columns online at AngleFullofGrace.com, and since I can’t not write (as one friend told me, “It’s your breathing out”) I’ll continue to post about life and such there. I don’t presume to believe there are many Pioneer subscribers who would want to read on, but if so, there’s a way to subscribe to the blog in order to get notified when there’s a new post. I can’t promise the full effort and editing of a normal column, but I can promise it’ll be more personal, more raw.
In these four years, the Pioneer only ever turned down two of my columns. What I wrote didn’t fit the community or was too sensitive of a topic.
I understand. But I also think it’s easy to underestimate people around here. We’re Northerners. We adapt and survive. I’ve certainly changed, and the world is changing too.
Still, I took the Pioneer for granted. I thought it would always be here, that I would have more time. I grieved when I heard the news, as if I’d lost a dear friend, a confidante.
As we watch the newspaper shutter its doors, major props need to go to publisher Rebecca Colden, editor Koren Zaiser, teammates Shelley Galle and Janée Provance, Jim Hallan and Dorothy Heppner for their prolific contributions and all the other writers now and over the years who have pitched in.
What a labor of love and commitment to keep a small-town newspaper going in these changing times! They’ve shown extraordinary dedication to bolstering community pride and shining a light on our people, especially our youth. They’ve rooted and rallied for local businesses. They’ve spread cheer and good will, and a few times even challenged us to think outside of our normal, everyday boxes. They’ve done their best, and I’m grateful, a tiny bit proud even, to have played a small part.
Thank you for reading.
Farewell, my friends.
(Column 120 – Published April 30, 2019 in the Warroad Pioneer)