Watching God WorkBlog / Produced by The High Calling
In this As You Go article, Dena Dyer reflects on how The High Calling, and the friends she made virtually because of it, provided a safe place for her to write, learn, share concerns, and grow spiritually.
“Hi, I’m Dena,” I said to a dark-haired man, about my age, sitting down the row from me. We were both waiting for the “newbies” meeting at Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference to begin.
“I’m Marcus,” he replied, and as we chatted about poetry (his passion) and non-fiction (mine), we discovered that we lived twenty minutes away from one another in Texas. It was a God-incidence, and soon after our initial meeting, Marcus asked me to write for The High Calling about my work as a singer and actress in a theater company. So began a friendship, and a professional relationship, for which I’ll always be grateful.
The Heart Behind Leaving
I’ve been putting off writing about The High Calling for several days. Why? Every time I think of leaving behind this place—and all the friends I’ve made here, from both the editorial team to our readers—I get a lump in my throat.
Over the past six years, I’ve made lifelong friends (including some I’ve never met in person) with the people behind-the-scenes at the HEB Foundation, Family Camp, Laity Lodge, and The High Calling. As I look back over the past half-decade, much has changed with our site, the country, and the world. In fact, my own family of four went through job upheavals, financial challenges, unplanned moves, and health issues. The High Calling, and the friends I made virtually because of it, provided a safe place for me to write, learn, share concerns, and grow spiritually.
Looking back with Gratitude
Three things stand out to me as I’ve reflected back over my time with The High Calling.
First, I’m grateful the Foundation knows that quality lasts—and is worth paying for. As a writer and editor, I am proud to work for an organization that paid its employees well. The excellence demonstrated by The High Calling writers, editors, photographers and videographers pushed me to a higher level of professionalism and craftsmanship.
Second, I’m thankful we were encouraged not to engage in hot-topic debates on the site or its social media channels. There are places where a Christian can do those things, but I felt a deep “soul comfort” here, knowing that we stayed away from divisive issues to focus on faith-and-work topics. In fact, I don’t even know which churches or political parties many of my HC friends identify with—only that we’re brothers and sisters in Christ, pursuing the same high calling. And I like it that way.
Finally, I’m grateful for the spiritual depth present in the resources and relationships we’ve cultivated. During a High Calling retreat at Laity Lodge a few years ago, that depth led to many tear-filled, late-night talks and spontaneous prayer meetings with kindred spirits. After we left the Lodge, thirteen of us (all women writers, across a wide spectrum of ages and denominations) began a Facebook group, dubbed “The Frio Sisters.” We’ve been holding each other up in prayer across the miles ever since.
That lump in my throat? It may be there a while, as I give thanks for what has been and seek what will be. I know God will continue to provide places to hone my craft and find faith communities.
It’s what he’s been doing all along.