Heather Hamilton-Maude: Why Write
Why do I write? It’s a question that surfaces from time to time.
Writing and journalism presented itself as an option here and there in my younger days, until God finally, more or less, smacked me alongside the head with it. I have since come to realize that writing is one of the things I am suppose to do during my time here on earth.
While I could take you through the entirety of my career, attempting to highlight all the ways God has shown this to be part of His plan for me, I’m going to share one specific example instead.
In 2012 I was working full time on my parents’ ranch, in addition to running a freelance photography and journalism business. One day that summer, then editor of Beef Magazine, Joe Roybal, called the house. This was somewhat odd, as he and I nearly always corresponded via email.
I missed his call, and he got the answering machine, which began with, “You have reached Shreds Record and Document Destruction, TK Freight, Double H Photography…..”
This lead to a conversation about the additional businesses our family ran in addition to ranching. You see, 2012 was the worst year of a nearly decade-long drought in that part of eastern Wyoming. It was hot and exceptionally dry for an area already classified as semi-arid. Grasshoppers, prairie dogs, fire and all the other trappings of drought were in full effect. I’m sure some of you can relate right about now. Those additional businesses were, in part, to help us hold on to our patch of sun-bleached grasshopper habitat, and to buy feed for our preferred species of cattle and sheep.
After our conversation, Joe asked if I would like to do a feature on my own family, and how we were surviving the drought. I agreed, and spent much of July and August writing the piece and gathering photos, including shots of our yearling heifers grazing two-inch tall kochia weed – that’s all there was that year.
After sending everything to Joe, he asked if I could provide a recent family photo to go with the article. We didn’t have such a thing, so while visiting, my then-boyfriend, now-husband became our impromptu family photographer.
Much to my surprise, the family photo wound up on the cover, which almost always showcased cattle.
A few weeks later, Joe forwarded me an email which said:
“…I just wanted to say thank you to you and your staff for the September 2012 article ‘Trying Times.’ My husband and I farm/raise cattle in western Iowa and like all our fellow farmers 2012 has been trying at times. In addition to our farming operation we added our daughter to our family on August 30th. To our surprise, she was born with Down’s Syndrome. When we opened our mailbox, saw the cover photo and read the article we knew it was a gift from God. It was emotionally healing just to identify with another cattle family.
Thank you again for the wonderful article and the perfect timing…”
There is no way, without God’s hand, that an editor with a national publication would call me instead of email, ask me to write that article, put a different-than-usual photo on the cover which had my sister with Down’s Syndrome front and center, and have it land in that family’s mailbox a few states away at that exact time. No possible way.
And, that is how it has been throughout my entire career. Not because of me or anything I have done – I have an animal science degree, and as mentioned I skipped over the first few writing opportunities placed in my path, but rather because God wants me to write. It is a way in which He works on me and through me.
Even with this column, if I go more than a couple weeks without mentioning my faith, God, Jesus, etc…. the ladies at the Lance Creek Community Church mention it to my mom. She will either pass their thoughts on to me, or just flat tell me that my column that week was alright, but they’re always better when they tie back to God.
All of us have those things we are called to do. Both the steadfast and comfortable things we have known most or all of our life, and the curveballs that have resulted in unforeseen joys and passions. Those unique ways in which the Lord uses us for His purposes, to lead people to Him, and through which He also makes our lives all the more worthwhile.
That’s why I write.
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