By Lisa Betz-Marquez

Editor’s Note : Andrea and I are blessed to be friends, encouragers and business partners with Lisa. This was an unsolicited post on her social media that brought me to tears. We feel this is the most honest and accurate picture of who we are, in the humble opinion of someone who knows us well, both personally and professionally.

Brian Hale

Early this morning, I had an interesting dream. In this dream a friend was with me, though I could not see the friend. When this happens, I assume it is my guide, the energy that stays with me throughout my life, guiding, helping, making sure I hear songs on the radio, notice snippets in books, and other such seeming coincidences I need to experience.

We were headed into a studio space, much like a yoga/healing center, where there were many others gathered. I noticed some were wearing masks, and so I reluctantly put one on. We entered a larger room, and noticed no one was wearing a mask, and so I took mine off. To my surprise, there was another, and another, and another mask, like those Russian dolls that have more and more inside themselves.

Finally, I took the last one off and felt such relief. I had felt hot and suffocated, then finally free after removing the last one.

I woke up.

Today, I’ll be recording a conversation for a radio show with my friends Brian and Andrea Hale, for a monthly appearance on their Digging Deeper series, called, Digging Deeper Within.

The Hales and I are longtime friends. I knew Andrea in school and always liked her. In the third month of the Gering Citizen’s existence, Brian and Andi entered the newspaper offices and asked to talk with Jim and I. They said they had been watching the Gering Citizen, loved what we were doing, and wanted to help. They offered to host a website for us, and over time, our relationship grew to the point where we collaborated on a from scratch newspaper website that was built according to my creative needs as publisher. Our website was really astounding, with a custom front end and a hidden back end that was so easy to work with.

At one point, the Hales operated Hale Multimedia out of the Citizen offices, and they also became part-time staffers. Andrea built advertising, managed the eEdition, and uploaded the website. Brian covered sports and wrote whatever stories he was assigned.

On the day we lost our server and everything on it on the day before deadline day, they stayed up all night helping me to put the paper together without delay.

Everyone should have dedicated friends like Brian and Andi Hale, who always have my back, and I mean, ALWAYS have my back. There have been countless times over the years when Brian responded to my detractors and those of the newspaper with incredible elan, supporting me as a friend and business partner while I learned my way in the newspaper publishing business.

The Hales are enterprising, and I love that about them. I’ve watched as they have created quite an empire for themselves, with a Scotts Bluff County Scanner page that allows the public to follow the activities of police and emergency crews, as well as various radio shows and broadcasting outlets.

They are fearless!

One of the hallmarks of our friendship has always surprised us all, and that is how seemingly different our religious/spiritual beliefs are, yet how able we are to communicate with each other. We are able to have deep conversations of exploration, and though I’m always thinking I’m going to say something that causes Brian to throw his hands up and say, no more, Lisa, you’re nuts, it never happens. In fact, we often find parity, harmony between us in the very act of listening to each other. We know each other’s hearts.

The act of working to understand friends who have different views, especially with the effort to truly understand, not “win” the conversation, has enriched us all.

We met recently to discuss a radio show, but our catching up conversation was so delightful, we decided to have a radio show conversation with each other to explore a variety of topics.

I’m so excited about this. I’m a bit nervous about it too. I believe the dream about taking off all of the masks is in direct relationship to this new project. It’s time to speak truth with ourselves, our friends, our world.

What is so lovely about having friends that are fearless, is that even though you don’t always agree on things, you know you can be yourself, safely yourself, and bring something to the table that isn’t masked, watered down, but authentically YOU.

We hope to model this in our show. Because the human collective really needs to be able to communicate with each other again as brothers and sisters who can truly open themselves to listen to each other, setting aside the egoic need to be “right” for the sake of love, understanding, and healing of the human collective.

It is time to set aside the childish notion of war upon our fellows in everyday actions and conversation, for the sake of unity and healing.

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