Thursday, July 28, 2011

Having the Heart of the Novice

The Desk Columnist of the Catholic Times remembers a retired reporter of the paper who still remains interested in the progress of the paper and communicates this interest to the writer of the column. Seeing that even in retirement the reporter keeps a keen interest in the paper and expresses this in his comments and encouragement, the columnist felt that the best way to describe the former reporter is to call him "young in heart." 

The writer reflects on the meaning of this expression in Korean, and believes it can be summed up calling it "the heart of the beginner," what some would mean by the word 'novice.' The zeal that the novice has is quick to disappear with successes.  The journalist remembers when  writing his first  articles for the paper, he would spend much time and anguish in selecting the words and rewriting repeatedly  so the readers would find it easy to approach his writing.

He recalls the words he wrote in his  pocket notebook: Be humble. Do everything to the best of your ability. Meet the news sources with a bright face. Remember that as a reporter and as a person of faith you are doing God's work. Never lose the  feelings you had when starting out. 

These were the words that were handed down to the writer from those who preceded him, and  he considered important enough to write in his notebook. When a difficult problem comes up, he remembers to go back to the "heart of the beginner." At that time his heart beat faster, he was excited, and he had expectations and motivations he would like to experience again.

The word 'beginning,' he says, always brought him feelings of delight. However, we slowly get lazy and, settling into a routine, blame ourselves for allowing it to happen. The beginning heart is always young, as when entering a new job or when getting married and expecting great things--negatives are never contemplated.

If we want to be a magnanimous person we should, he says, have three hearts: the beginner's heart, the zealous heart, and the supporting  heart. Once we have the beginner's heart the other two will follow; we will become zealous and others will help and encourage us.  If we let familiarity overcome our beginner's heart, however, we will, he says, have the greedy heart, the worrying heart and the doubting heart.

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