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Introducing Emily Putzke: What Matters to Me

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Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2021-2022 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters to them. FMS’ Communications Associate, Emily Putzke, discusses the importance of stories in her life.

Some of my earliest memories revolve around stories: my mom reading picture books aloud to me (chosen from the many gloriously overstuffed bookshelves in my house), listening to her read series such as The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to my siblings and me, enjoying audiobooks and radio theater dramas on long car rides, and learning to pen my own little stories in the countless notebooks scattered around my room.

In many ways, my life has been formed and shaped by stories, whether written, visual, or auditory. They have imparted goodness, beauty, hope, and truth to me. Within these tales, I have witnessed light consume darkness, hope triumph over despair, and goodness defeat evil.

The stories I’ve loved the most are the ones that don’t shy away from the brokenness of the world but impart the message of a redeemed world to come and invite me “further up and further in” as I grow to see myself in God’s story for the world. They give me a glimpse into the meaning of the incarnation – the word became flesh and dwelt among us – as Christ himself lived in this fallen world and told stories of truth and hope. 

Stories matter to me. They have transformed the way I, as a follower of Christ, relate to the world in both its heartaches and glories. But Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings sums up my thoughts best: 

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness, and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something … there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Reflection: In what way have stories impacted your faith journey? 

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Emily Putzke is a native of Western New York and graduated from SUNY Empire State College with her BA in History. With a background in writing and editing for historical non-profits, she is looking forward to gaining experience working for a Catholic non-profit while cultivating new skills as the FMS communications associate. Emily is excited to grow deeper in her Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality while serving in DC with the FMS community.