This morning I received an e-mail from an old friend. I had not heard from him in quite awhile and had dropped a line to ask how things are going. Mostly I keep us connected by writing a note every now and again to keep in touch. Sometimes I think if I did not write we probably would drift away into oblivion. At some point our relationship had been very important for me. It had supported me through a very difficult period of my life, and I simply do not want to lose the contact.
He wrote at the conclusion of his letter this morning:
I can't say that I get this blog stuff. I checked out your sites, I guess it is a great way to interact with the world. I guess I prefer the old ways of communicating.
After reading his reply to me I went off to work out and complete my yoga routine. Something about his comment made me agitated. Trying to concentrate on my breathing exercises I found my mind wandering restlessly back to his words over and over again: ... the old ways of communicating. "What on earth were those?" I thought. Mostly we had kept in touch through e-mails. Face-to-face contact was always rushed for one reason or another, about which I am not going to elaborate here.
Yes, it is a great way to interact with the world, old friend, but blogging is more than that for me. It has been life saving this past year. Leaving friends, loved ones and my entire early childhood community was devastating for me emotionally. Over and over again I have felt isolated and anonymous in most profound ways. Somehow very few people used "the old ways of communicating" with me during this time unless I would travel to Buffalo to visit. I would have dearly loved to meet friends for lunch, coffee, breakfast, or take a walk anywhere. I would have driven miles to meet up for such old ways of communicating. I still would, heavens knows. But life is just not like that. Most people are too busy, sometimes overwhelmed, working, loving, struggling, enjoying, being. Getting together from far away takes effort and commitment.
On the other hand, blogging is always here. Close by. With a click and a snap, people from all over the world, different walks of life, political opinions, religions, ages and stages, connect up and listen, support, comment and communicate with me in ways that have kept me feeling together and worthwhile in some of my darkest moments. Somehow bloggers have always found the time and energy to reply or even link to me. At the same time I am able to find other bloggers as easy as a wink or mouse click. At any time of the day or night, I am able to share in their stories, poetry, glorious pictures, jokes, deepest emotional outpourings, rage, information, opinions, ideas, life experiences - even fears of death, illness, old age. Life feels real, tangible, honest and deep out there in the blogging world. People tell it as it is and share their emotional challenges with one another in authentic ways.
And so, old friend, I love and adore the old way of communicating. I would give anything to take a long walk with you, sit on a rock and look over a valley eating croissants and drinking a glass of wine. I have long missed being able to just be in your presence and share a word or two about our lives and feelings about this or that. I have longed for old friends this past year in ways that I never dreamed possible. But, here in the blogging world I found new ones and wonderful ways of communicating that feel sometimes even better than the old.
Oh, and by the way, blogging is also good for just writing stuff down, you know, for self-reflection and oh so much more. But that is for another day ...