Taking the heat, making an unlikely friend

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By Kathryn Kircher

What would make a busy, overworked mom of five take on an opinion column for WEDNESDAY JOURNAL? And what would make her continue for almost three years, even after being misunderstood and vilified for the things she had written?

I asked myself those kinds of questions plenty of times during my tenure at the JOURNAL. Trying to present a "compassionate conservative" viewpoint in the context of a liberal newspaper to a community like ours wasn't the easiest job I ever tackled. Sure, I was glad for the opportunity to express a point of view that seemed under-represented.

But I think the thing that kept me going was a sense of purpose: maybe some of the things I had to say might make a difference to some of my readers. I felt that there was information that needed to be broadcast and truth that ought to be expressed. I'd been presented with a forum to do that, so I jumped in?#34;albeit with fear and trembling.

I don't know if that purpose was accomplished, but I do know that I experienced a number of benefits during my tenure at the JOURNAL. For one thing, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to articulate my opinions in ways that would hopefully help others to consider a different perspective. It was great to have the opportunity to talk about issues that are important to me such as family life, justice, abortion, homosexuality, the Middle East crisis, and adoption.

Another benefit of being a columnist for WEDNESDAY JOURNAL was the fact that I became better informed. As I researched some of my articles, my understanding of the issues became even more well developed.

For example, before I wrote my column about condom distribution at the high school, I knew that condoms leave their users vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies and STDs. But when I read the actual research and grappled with the far-reaching consequences of the 15-percent failure rate of condoms, I was horrified by the potentially devastating impact of condom distribution on our kids.

However, the greatest and most lasting benefit of writing an opinion column for the JOURNAL is the friendship that I developed with one of the other columnists, JB Miller. JB and I were the JOURNAL's odd couple. He was an openly homosexual columnist who had written a couple of articles in defense of the gay lifestyle, and I was known for taking the opposite viewpoint. We met at WEDNESDAY JOURNAL's Christmas party. We later discovered that we were both terrified at the prospect of running into one another at this event, but by what I believe was much more than a coincidence, we ended up seated at the same table. We had some cordial conversation that evening and JB was brave enough to invite me out to lunch.

From that initial luncheon date, a friendship developed that included visiting one another's churches, attending celebrations in one another's homes, and even going to the following year's WEDNESDAY JOURNAL Christmas party together. I'll never forget the shock and amazement expressed by one of the JOURNAL's shareholders when JB arrived with my husband and me. This gentleman couldn't grasp that two people with such different viewpoints could be friends!

Although JB and I had issues where we disagreed, we had much more in common than anyone would have expected. Even though JB and his partner have since moved to Indiana, we still keep in touch. The lessons learned in developing my friendship with JB will remain with me, as will the blessings of the friendship itself.

And for that I say, "Thank you, WJ!"

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