Sunday, October 22, 2006

Condolences

We need to take a moment and extend condolences to a dear friend and former AP colleague whose stepdaughter was shot to death last week. Permit me the concession of not using names here just so as to not invade his and his wife's space too much. It remains a somewhat messy affair, unresolved as of this writing.

I write in part to let my friend know that we all -- all of us who have been with the AP -- care in this time. And I write because of something said at the memorial service from the woman's own hand that I think would be valuable for all of us to remember.

It had been a rough few years for this woman in her 20s. Drugs, alcohol. You can fill in the blanks. Yet hope remained within her. At the memorial service, the minister read a note she had written, apparently at one of the better times of her recent life. It detailed her struggle, and her struggle back; her vision of seeing a light, something to work toward, to hope for.

And there were these final words of the note (I am doing it from memory, so if I have them slightly wrong, my apologies), something we all could remind ourselves when we're arguing about the industry's future, or frustrated with an editor -- or a reporter. Or when we're just trying to get through the daily hassles. The words of a woman whose struggles were far greater than most of ours, who was fighting mightily to reach that light she perceived:

"It's about progress," she wrote, "not perfection."

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