The week before Christmas, as I was covering an attempted murder trial, a quotation about falling in love popped in my head.

“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings …”

I first came across those lines in college while trying to understand the mysteries of romantic relationships. I haven’t thought of the quote in years, but suddenly found new insight into the words of Pedro Arrupe (1907-1991), a Spanish Jesuit priest who worked as a missionary in Japan and was imprisoned during World War II.

It must have happened on the last day of the four-day trial, in which an out-of-state man was accused of trying to kill a South Dakota trooper after the trooper found a large amount of marijuana inside the man’s vehicle. The defendant was found guilty of attempted murder, as well as drug and weapon charges.

Pennington County Courthouse facade
Pennington County Courthouse

I covered most of the witness testimonies, which stretched from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., then wrote about the day’s proceedings for the next day’s paper. At the same time, I was also doing reporting work for a Christmas feature story that was due at the end of that week. My days spanned about 12 hours, and I was feeling run-down when – out of the blue – the lines about being in love came to me.

There always seemed a dimension to the quotation that my 20-year-old self couldn’t fathom. Now, as I begin the 18th year of being a journalist, I hear it speaking about vocation, the calling to a particular profession.

What you are in love with, Arrupe went on to say, will decide “what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.”

In 2017, I saw numerous fellow journalists leave or lose their jobs as the industry continued to face financial difficulties. There were often more stories than reporters to cover them, including issues that might not have received enough attention. Then there were the people constantly trying to shoot down the messenger of news they didn’t like or disagreed with, especially in the present heavily partisan political times.

Despite these difficulties, the call to report and write remains.

Arrupe said: “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Fall in Love
Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

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