The road to redemption

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

One thing I love about this job is I never know what is going to happen. Yes, we make plans, particularly for longer pieces, sometimes months in advance, but generally, I don’t know on Thursday what I’m going to write in Filet of Soul or this little Editor’s Note until I sit down to do it.

That’s sort of intentional. Our little newspaper is quite formatted with regard to its content. There’s always going be Green, News, Features, MusicBeat, Film—you get the picture—so we do things that introduce a little of chaos to keep the newspaper fresh and unpredictable.

One of the things I do with this in mind is that I talk to anyone who comes to the door. They’ll usually just want to say hi or talk about a story idea, but every once in a while, somebody interesting knocks.

Such was the case with the Rev. Eugene Evans. He just came to the door. “I don’t even knowa why I stopped. Do you have some sort of area for Christians in your paper?”

I told him that Filet of Soul was for all spiritual beliefs, but I write about Christianity a lot because it’s dominant. I suggested a Filet about him. As we talked, I realized there was no way I was going to even scratch the surface of his story in a little 600-word article.

I like unreliable narrators, people who’ve screwed up. The reverend has been down many roads, and his storytelling style makes me doubt some details, but I think he’s sincere about the big picture stuff. I think he found redemption in prison, and is now on a good road, helping people who need help, honestly passing around hope in a society that’s a bit down on its luck.

The concept of redemption is interesting. Leopards don’t generally change their spots—and if you’ve ever tried to create fundamental change in your life, you know why—but I know that when I’ve committed to a change, like weight loss, attitude, or accepting people for who they are, I can do it. And that gives me hope for the big picture. And maybe even a chance at redemption.