I’m an introvert, it’s difficult for me to make friends. To put myself out there, well it’s hard. Online it’s a bit easier.
When I got the inkling to do this series I started talking about it with Jenny. We’d discussed on many occasions how we’ve both been blessed by the people we’d connected with through blogging and Twitter. We’d both experienced and developed deep and meaningful relationships not only with each other but with people around the world.
Many people don’t get it. Don’t get the connection between two people who have never met that live on opposite sides of the world. And that’s okay. I don’t get the connection between two football fans, whose bodies are painted with their team’s colors standing in a form of community as they cheer their team on, but that doesn’t mean that connection isn’t there.
Over the last year or so I’ve watched as my local friendships, community have waned. Friends we always hung out with we rarely get together with. Other confidants – the return of phone calls ceased to exist. As these relationships became less close, those online became closer. I met new friends that I would soon end up pouring my heart and soul out to over email and Skype and text. I had new friends that were genuinely interested in me and my struggles and joyous celebrations of the faith. That spent time with head bowed in fervent prayer for me.
This was oh so evident four weeks ago as I tweeted asking for prayer giving no details, only to receive DM after DM from friends saying they were praying and giving their cell numbers telling me to call no matter the time. Friends that continued to pray as we found out Shawn needed an emergency appendectomy. Prayed for him and for me.
As my tangent friendships became fewer, God brought ones that I couldn’t touch but that have met me where I’ve been.
Last week at work I was thinking about the people who say you can’t have deep, meaningful relationships with people online. I started thinking about Paul. The apostle, the missionary, the church planter extraordinaire. I realized that he had deep, meaningful, passionate relationships with the congregations of the churches he helped start. Some of the people he knew, but as the churches grew more he did not. Yet he still had connection and community even with those people. His letters to them were full of love, correction, and passion for who these people were and their relationship with Christ. To either him or the people in the church the miles in between and the the never having met didn’t matter. They still loved. They still had community.
I’ve been blessed by so many. My life has been touched and challenged. You’ve caused me to think. To pray. To cry. I’ve hurt when you hurt. Rejoiced when you’ve rejoiced.
Thank you for being community.
A very special thank you to Tammy, Elora, Alece, Jenni, Jenny, & Jen(ny) for joining me in this celebration over the last week. I’m am enthralled to “know” each of you. I can’t wait to meet over coffee, dinner, across a living room. To hug you long and fierce. To say in person what each of you mean to me. I am beyond blessed.