Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lessons from Blogging

I have been asked before by curious friends why I blog. As those of you who are in this little world know, it is such a difficult thing to explain.

What started as a memoir for my family has become my therapy. My blog has become a place to reflect at the end of the day and try to reframe the frustrations of the day into lessons I hope to learn from. A place to record my thoughts, fears and cherished memories. A sounding board. A network of supportive been-there-done-that Moms. A place to encourage others in the same boat or a step or two behind on this road of life.

As I read about Copeland Farley's passing last night, my sadness was somewhat alleviated by elation at the support blogging had facilitated for this family. There were over 600 comments on the post about her passing last time I checked. That is phenomenal! For all of the scary, yucky things about the Internet, praise God for the network of prayer warriors it can also connect. Stories like Copeland's, Heather's, Amy's, Ashley's, Ivey's, Eliot's move me and inspire me to be more courageous and more faithful. I walk away challenged, encouraged, feeling like I have seen another layer of God's character revealed by how His Will was worked out in those lives.

I value authenticity highly. There are limits of course to what is appropriate to share outside an intimate circle, but what is with all the pretense most walk through life hiding behind? Why don't we do a better job of sharing loads with one another? I remember a wise man warning me over a decade ago that I did not understand community. "Your problem, " he said, "is that you think you must be completely independent or risk becoming co-dependent. You have forgotten about the great space between those two places called interdependence. That is real community. That is Biblical." Those were profound words spoken over my life.

I often find myself wishing everyone was as open and authentic in "real life" as they are able to be online. Blogging seems in so many ways to remove the pretenses, cut to the core and allow people to play their roles in the parts of the body. Why must we hide behind computer screens in order to open up? Wouldn't it be freeing to live "real life" this way? What are we afraid of?


BooMama said...

Love this post - and have been thinking along these same lines today as I've thought about the Farleys. But do you know what I've also realized? Blogging has actually opened me up in real life, I think. I mean, I don't walk around telling everybody my business :-) - but I find that I'm more likely to share what's really going on in my life because our sweet little blog community has helped me to learn that when tough times hit, I don't have to run and hide.

And I am forever grateful for that lesson.

Lisa said...

I too, was so moved by the support the Farley's recieved. Amazing.
Thank you for the reminder to live authentically. It is something I try for every day and am trying to instill the same in my kids through my actions and words.
The blogging thing, the connections I've made have left me speechless. I can't imagine not 'knowing' a few of the good friends I have gotten to meet. But, I really think that you have to do it to understand it.

A Place For Ministry Wives said...

Yes, it would be more freeing to live "real life" this way.

I think we're afraid of being "rejected", "unaccepted" or thought of as "abnormal" (as if there's any staple for normal these days...LOL).

I echo your's and BooMama's statements. Blogging has really helped me be so much more transparent in my life and unafraid to share my thoughts and opinions. The feedback I receive from my posts reaffirms that I am on the right track and really boosts my confidence & assurance in what the Lord is doing in my life.

Who would've ever thought the Lord would use something like this to build community? It's amazing. I think learning to experience "community" in BLOGWORLD has ENHANCED my ability to experience "community" in my REAL/PHYSICAL world.

Peach said...

Great post.

I've been moved by the very same things you've mentioned here.

I've also wondered about the break down from blogland to real life for myself.

I am often much more willing to be open and vulnerable out here with my bloggy friends than with people I've met face-to-face in the past year in our shared town.

Yet I long for deep, meaningful relationships in both arenas. You have given me much to ponder today.

Renee said...

I don't know. For me, it's just as hard to put it out there on the computer screen as it is in real life. I think part of it goes back to being a PK and always feeling that my life had to be perfect as to not disappoint anyone. And then part of it, I believe, has to do with having a son with DS. My husband and I were talking about this recently, and I feel like having so many people come into our life/home after he was born (therapist, docs, case workers, etc...) has made me close up even more. I don't want people to have pity on me. I'm not saying I prefer to be so quiet, it's just impacted who I am.

I've been following the Farley's story for a few months since one of their friends told us about them at church. I've been completely amazed at how real they have been through the computer. I just cannot even imagine.

But you're right. If we could all be so open and put it all out there we might feel more free.

Fran said...

For freedoms sake, Christ came.
We are free! We know it, but do we live it?? Thats a mighty big calling and a mighty big word.
A wonderful post. I'm so glad I found your blog.
Blessings to you...

Kim said...

I agree with everything you've stated, as well as the comments above!!

For me, blogging is a great form for me to share what's really on my heart!

Sometime's (I've found) it hard to be open and honest in our world because often people misinterpret things. Yet, I've found through blogging that I can *wear* my heart on my sleeve...and it's ok if people agree, or disagree, because my thoughts are simply that. My thoughts.

Although I have a grown daughter, and a son who is 15, I've SO enjoyed your you've brought me to my knee's many time in reflection of my heart.

Blessing to you and your sweet family!!

Room for Grace said...

I agree with Boo Mama. I think blogging has helped open me up in my "real life".
When I started my blog is was just a free way for our family and friends to follow our trip to China to adopt our baby girl. I had no idea that this little community existed until somehow someone found our blog, I read theirs, clicked on their links, and so it went...
Now, I write about whatever is on my mind, knowing family and friends read, saying things I'd probably never bring up in casual conversation. I love my newfound freedom to express myself and find it does help me do it out loud, in actual conversations b/c I've "practiced" on my blog so much this past year.
I've also found others who feel so much like I do in so many areas, that I start to think, hey I might be more normal than I thought!
But, you're right why don't we all just be who we are, honestly and bravely, and share our walks, without fear of judgement?
Let's start a movement!

Mandy said...

I, too, am learning that it is okay to be more open about my problems or feelings. I hope that if nothing more, blogging makes me take the time to really reflect on my own life and thoughts at that time. It is a great outlet for sure.


Bev said...

I've seen so many wonderful things happen in the Blogworld since I've come here. To be a blessing and go away blessed, what's not to love? And I have to agree, for some to feel safe being real here and then having the courage to take that into their lives with others, thats a great thing.

Jan said...

Another great thing about blogging is that others can see you who are without the prejudices that come naturally upon a first in-person meeting. For example, here in my state there is a blogger who is quite intelligent, clever and witty and has a wonderful blog. He is a star in Oklahoma's blog world (and beyond). After reading his blog for several years, a group of us met him in person. I can tell you that most people who meet him would not have the first impression that he is clever and witty and creative. He is a large, unkempt fellow with a tick and few social skills. Because we had all been fans for years, he was still the star of the show, and I think it was suprising to him to have so much in-person attention.

Strangely enough, we who read his blog knew him better than the people who knew him in person. And that is why I love blogging.