Flashback Friday – The Strangeness of The Internet – Turning On The Lights

**Every Friday, I reach back into my archives and pull out something you might have missed. In the light of the horrible things in the news today, here’s a reminder of the time that strangers from around the world banded together to help us find the help that our local doctors couldn’t/didn’t. The world can be very scary, but it can also be quite wonderful.**

The internet is a very weird place…thing…entity. I don’t really know what it actually is, which seems strange to me considering how much time I have spent on it…in it…among it?

I remember so clearly the day that I started my blog. I was a very lonely stay-at-home homeschooling mom of four little kids. We lived in a neighborhood populated by mostly elderly people, and my children were the only kids for blocks. Every morning, my husband would leave for work, and I would sit in the silence of soul-crushing isolation. After months of being alone, an over-the-phone friend suggested that I should blog. I’d never read a blog before that day, and I didn’t really understand the point of them. After scanning through a few of them, I decided that this new hobby might help to fill in a part of my day.
That night, I discussed it with my I-love-my-privacy husband. He looked perplexed when he asked, “Why would you want to share our lives with complete strangers? It’s not like they’ll pay you for it. You’re just inviting people we don’t know into our lives, and for what?” The past few months, and especially the past few days, have finally answered him.
We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support, prayers, and help from these strangers I invited into our lives seven years ago. Over the years, you have shared our grief and our joys. You’ve laughed at the goofiness of us, and cried with our heartbreaks. This past week, you went with us on the journey through this medical maze. In our worry and fatigue, I laid it before you, and you ran with it.
My beloved readers forwarded my blog to family members and friends. You harangued people you knew in high school, and the guy who once took you to the prom, to read over the medical history of a child you’ve never met. It didn’t matter, because so many of you know her and love her, even if it’s just through a computer screen. You pushed and nagged, and then began for us a tidal wave of responses.
We were wading through the plethora of comments when the emails started coming in. In all, twenty three doctors have written to me, offering opinions and advice. They’ve told me where to go from here, and which tests need to come before which others. They’ve told us where to look for answers, and who to ask those questions. We’ve emailed back and forth with specialists from all over the world, and learned much from their willingness to come to the aid of a little girl they don’t know. They have reassured us, and praised our openness to the ideas and opinions of others. They have laughed at the daring of a mom who would ask the world to brainstorm a diagnosis, and been impressed by the responses we have received…and they had ideas. Lots of ideas.
We are beyond blessed. I don’t know what that word would be, but we are miles and years beyond merely blessed.
I have you to thank for all of it.
Seven years ago, I waded out into this strange internet thing, not really knowing what it was. I had no way of knowing what I was doing when I began sharing our lives with a world-full of strangers. I didn’t know then how much I would come to know and love many of you, or how attached you would become to us, and us to you. I didn’t know that here, in our darkest moments, it would be you who would look for the switch to turn back on the lights.

About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.
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