McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

December 20, 2013

Why I do this.

By MJ Brickey
Digital editor

McALESTER — There are stories —people’s stories — that come crashing into the newsroom like a tidal wave that ebb me toward the deepest abyss — my all and my heart — twisting into a complete knot and my soul begins to course pure tears, but damming all the impetuous swirling emotions are my will to survive this world and my spite of all the “bad” things in it — poised at my desk, back erect in my seat and banging away at my keyboard.

There are stories — people’s lives — hitting me in a way that once I’m home, I hide away in the bathroom to breathe deep and cry until my chest feels some sort of relief and the tightness in my head loosens a bit. At the end of my life, I will have already died a thousand deaths. I will die with the people I lose in mine and my colleagues stories, in the obituaries, to natural disasters, in car accidents, the fire, the murders, the shootings, the pain and all the sickness. And sitting across a table from a broken person, I’ve been and will continue to be humbled. I will feel dirty, abused and I will suffer. If it was polite, or even possible, to scream in print, I would — so loud, so mournful enough you could hear, feel all the suffering. The things I’ve seen — will see — are seen when my eyelids succumb to exhaustion. Yes, I did say when I die, I will have died thousands of deaths. But, what makes this all worth it — in my individual lifetime, I will have lived thousands more lives. Over-and-over, I will experience victories, holding trophies above my head and shout with pride. I will have cried blissful tears, tears of complete happiness and blush with countless brides. Again-and-again, I will have battled the most bleak odds and overcome them with the tremendous power of the human spirit. With verve, images of it all will play out before me, the moments, smiling faces and beautiful occasions will send me off peacefully into my life’s dusk. Brass, pit orchestra, bands of all kinds will be represented in the soundtrack for my memories. No picture, graphic or clip art that can be placed within these pages will be fitting enough to publish with my story. Maybe a grand mosaic could encapsulate all the details about any — all — of this. All of the little pieces that I will have pressed into place and all the perfection I will see within the flaws — what holds it together will be left unexplained. All things broken, cast away or destroyed can be picked back up from the ground and laid out into a magnificent mosaic. When it hurts and I ask myself why I am doing this, I remember there is nothing else I could do for a living that would allow me to live so much life and with so many people. I can’t help but laugh this moment and I am thinking I can’t imagine doing anything else.