I shall enjoy it, if only for a little while…

Y’know, I don’t mind saying it: the Henderson Daily News kicked some serious butt over the weekend at the North and East Texas Press Association (NETPA) annual conference. Yeah, that’s right. We kicked butt!

We were honored for the quality of our content as well as the craft of our design. Thus, the esteemed judges of the NETPA determined that our news product excels in both beauty as well as brains. What more can we ask for?

Anyone with a functioning consciousness and all five senses can cobble together some meager recollection of news or events. Of course, the higher the caliber of personnel you have, the better your results.

My boss told me of our accomplishments on Sunday, which was also April Fools Day. I thought it to be a rather clever prank on his part, until he finally convinced me that he was in earnest.

I had already laid down for a post-church nap before he contacted me. Which was a good thing, the shock of learning that I was named Journalist of the Year probably would’ve made me a bit wobbly in the knees. After our exchange I remained laying down, thinking about how far I’ve come since joining the HDN in 2009 and how much farther I still have to go.

One of the first things I did when I came to work Monday morning was to spend a good twenty to thirty minutes reading the first dozen or so stories I contributed to this daily chronicle. I assure you, if there was any unseemly vanity over being so honored, it took only a few minutes for me to dismiss it with a chuckle.

The NETPA is gracious to bestow these accolades, and I am greatly indebted to so many.

Every aspect of my life, whether in sustenance or suffering, is a blessing resplendent. I simply cannot see it any other way. Every breath is itself a tiny, and undeserved, gift. I live and die at the mercy of my Lord. I cannot lay claim to any glory for myself because I know that any and everything I have that might be considered “good” is wholly derivative.

Make no mistake, I am thankful for the kindness and honors bestowed upon this newspaper, but I don’t know of a single person in this office that works toward the goal of receiving an award. We do what we do because we think it’s important, because we care about what we do, and because of the responsibilities that come with being a member of the “fourth estate.”

Does it feel good to be told that you’re good at what you do? Of course it does. Wouldn’t you like it if someone gave you an award for doing what you do all day everyday? Sure, it feels great to be complimented for a job well done.

But still I confess that it’s rather awkward for me. Not out of any practiced pose of false modesty, but because I know how little of it is deserved.

If I have a talent for writing or taking photographs, it was created in me. I may as well take credit for my glowering dark maroon eyes or my height and broad-shouldered frame. I was born healthy, to good parents, and well-educated by a steady stream of passionate and committed teachers. I have a wife that supports me in every way possible, tolerates the long hours as well as the incessant distractions that occupy my thoughts even when I’m away from work.

My blessings are manifold. I have every reason to succeed and no excuse to fail.

Our God is generous to share so much of the glory that is His alone. Through a ways and means that remain a mystery to me, He has put me in a position to receive praise, my name to be reckoned with honor among others in my field.

I know that He holds my fate in His thrall, and has prepared for me each day the task to be accomplished.

So I will be thankful and enjoy this honest trifle, if only for a little while.


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