Yesterday, when I logged on to Facebook, I noticed that along the left sidebar, there were four profiles that appeared at the very top of my friends list. If you view your Facebook homepage, your friends are starting to list along that side. They rotate and shuffle their order randomly, so each time I hit refresh, a new sequence appears.
These four people were on the very top of my 300ish "friends" that range across the spectrum of this widely cast net that has encompassed my life so far. These four friends were as follows:
I had to stop and register this for a moment. You see, all four of these women I have never met (save one). And yet, all four of these women have changed my life, even still.
The entire time I've kept this blog, I figure I have a maximum of ten readers. I keep my little circle small, rarely letting in anyone in my "real" life, and I've done this now for about four years. Yet despite this, on a rainy Saturday, I am shown that the women I know only through this blog and and the lives I've shared with them throughout every day that have added up to weeks and months and years IS real life.
Over the last 4-5 years, I have read Maggie's writings with my breath literally held, lest she take it away with the things she writes. I watched her kids grow into teenagers, her miscarriage, her pregnancy, Ever's birth. I have read Angie's powerful essays, and have gotten the chance to meet this wonderful woman and her family in Oregon when I was passing through. That was my first experience actually meeting a blogger-friend, and it was excellent. I watched Bethany climb through a breakup, keeping her house, nurturing her pets, and growing by leaps and bounds (even if she doesn't know it, she has.) I watched as all three of them became integral parts of my life.
I watched as Maggie led me to Katie Granju -- whom I "met" after her son Henry passed away, and I watched with increasing outrage as her and her son's story was met with dismissal by authorities. I watched as she began a non-profit, Henry's Fund, for her son, I watched as she had her fifth and last baby, and I've watched how she has continued to fight and breathe and work and I've watched all this in awe. I watched Katie's sister Betsy take the Henry's Fund helm and try to bend and shape the lump of clay into something full of meaning and beauty.
I watched as Betsy struggled to honor her nephew that she loved like a son, and I knew that unique place from which she came, having loved and continue to fiercely love my own nieces and nephews. I know that love. I wrote a little note to Betsy one day, offering to help with Henry's Fund. A few months later, I got to hug her neck, and many more months later, we've formed a friendship that means we can answer the phone with each other while in the bathtub and I can start sentences like "Ok, this is going to sound crazy, but..."
These connections would never, ever have been without this blog, without these words.
My words, your words. Connections that form and grow, then begin to weave to lead to entangled lives, and all of a sudden you look up and realize that it is impossible to say that no, we haven't met.
I know you.
You know me. You know the deepest desires of my heart; you know what makes me tick. I am awfully honored to share in your company.