Persons, places and things: The beauty of change


By Barb Arland-Fye


Scanning the crowd of picnickers socializing inside a park shelter, I eagerly picked out faces of former Quad-City Times colleagues I hadn’t seen in years.
A former Times journalist and his wife organized a reunion for all of us and created a facebook page to provide details leading up to the June 15 event. The social media page expanded opportunities to reminisce and reacquainted us with long lost contacts.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in “real” time at the picnic.  Memories of former co-workers had been frozen in time in my mind’s eye. Heather would always be the sweet young woman with really long hair who looked 16 when she started at the Times. Kris and Karen would always be the young married couple with whom I trained for my first Quad-City Times Bix 7 road race. Tracy would always be the high school intern on the sports desk.
In what seems to be the blink of an eye, we’ve all changed; we’ve been impacted physically, mentally and spiritually by our unique lived experiences. During the picnic I felt a tinge of nostalgia for what once was, but as a wise Sister of Humility reminded me this morning in an interview for another story, change is a given. How we respond to change matters most.
Eleven years ago I chose to make a significant change, leaving behind a satisfying 21-year journalism career at The Quad-City Times to accept the managing editor position at The Catholic Messenger. Likewise, the two men who led this highly respected diocesan newspaper for more than three decades — Msgr. Frank Henricksen and Frank Wessling — also made a significant change in passing the baton to the next generation.
Early in my career with The Messenger I thought of returning to The Quad-City Times, the place that nurtured me as a journalist and that had become like a second family. But with the passage of time and my immersion in covering the Church, I developed a growing awareness of the Holy Spirit at work in my life. What an awesome discovery! I pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all that I do. That has impacted my approach to every aspect of life. The Holy Spirit inspires and also holds me accountable. When I fail to respond to others appropriately, commit a sin of commission or omission, the Holy Spirit makes me keenly aware of the need to change.
A journalist who still works at the Quad-City Times asked me recently if I’d be interested in writing a brief reflection for a farewell page for another of our colleagues who has recently left the newspaper after 35 years of dedicated work.
In reflecting on my relationship with my former colleague, I realized how much I had grown and changed because of her persistence to make me a better reporter, and her compassion. In the fall of 1983, when I had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving because family members were out of state or out of the country, Linda invited me to celebrate with her family. I’ll never forget that act of kindness.
We long ago became friends and easily recognized each other at the picnic reunion. That, too, is a blessing of the Holy Spirit.

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