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 years have answered him.
We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support, prayers, and help from these strangers I invited into our lives almost ten 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.
When we were stuck in the darkness of medical mystery, it was you, the readers, who forwarded my blog to family members and friends. You harangued people you knew in high school, and the guy who once to 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 that gave us the questions and starting places which eventually led to answers.
When the insurance company decided that wheels weren’t necessary for a wheelchair, you rose with us in protest, tweeting and tagging the insurance company into caving in less than 48 hours. Then you helped us raise the money for the sky-high co-pay within hours, and I began to understand what an amazing community of humanity existed on the interwebs.
Over the years, I’ve handed my soap box over to people to tell the world about their passions, written about their needs, begged for prayers, and worked hard to help them right their wrongs. Every time I’m awed by the way that a screen and a keyboard bring together people who would never know of each other’s existence any other way, uniting a tight-knit community who genuinely care for one another.
A few weeks back, I mentioned that while this was our eighth baby, we were less prepared than ever to welcome someone new. Seven children and twenty years had worn out or outdated almost all of the baby gear we owned. Again it was only a few days before help began arriving via regular visits from the UPS man. These weren’t gifts from strangers, but from the wonderful sisterhood of readers, Catholic writers, bloggers, podcasters, and speakers I’ve met as a result of sharing our world online. Some of us have met in person, more of us never will, but we turn on our screens and find friendship, laughter, faith, and prayers. These are my people. This is my hometown.
There are many posts and stories out there decrying the evil of Social Media (I’ve even written a few myself.) It is easy to get caught up in the drama, trauma, and high emotion that seem to prevail every platform these days, but if you learn to look, learn to sift through the noise, you soon discover that there’s something wonderful out here too.
Ten years ago, I waded out into this strange internet thing, not really knowing what it was. I had no way of knowing what would happen 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 beloved you would be.
Thank you for the gift of your time and attention, your love and care for our family. You have been one of the greatest blessings I have ever known.
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