We, quite often by accident or happenstance, stumble across one another on this worldwide web. This intricate tangle of instant communication lines that tumbles and jettisons and hiccups thru a murky system most of us don't technically understand. And yet, somehow, our paths cross. Why? And why at this particular time in our lives? I don't know. But I do believe there's a purpose for all that happens in Life. I believe there's meaning to everything. What I may not understand now might be quite clear in hindsight 10 years down the road. This is a lesson learned especially as we enter into the middle years of our lives and beyond. In youth, everything is here and now. Tomorrow isn't important yet. It hasn't happened. The future is just that, the future. There is no concept that the future is out there, waiting to swallow us up faster than we could've ever dreamed.
This evening I visited a blog I haven't had time to really visit in a long time. I've hit it sporadically in the past few months especially and a lot has been happening in this particular writer's life since the holidays. As I read it, I grieved. I grieved for what she's losing, what she's coping with. How circumstances are affecting the lives of herself and her children. I grieved because I have no answers. I have no wonder drug elixir that can fix all of her sorrows. I grieved for her as a friend because that's the way I've come to think of her.
When I began writing my blogs - my "Then" and "Now" versions - they began as a place to come for comfort and refuge from the personal storms assailing me, both in the past and what was the present at that time. I had a lot of issues from my past I needed to work my way thru and leave behind me. And I was facing a cataclysm of emotions that had surged up when my Dad, my one remaining parent, had suffered a devastating stroke just a month before I 'debuted', a stroke that would take his life almost a year to the day later. I was also awaiting the birth of Dylan, my first grandchild. At first, no comments appeared and I was devastated. Not that I was expecting any...but I was hopeful. And when I told my daughter that, she showed me that even tho no one had commented, people were coming by and reading. I think the first time I checked my statistics I had something like 500. When I shut down all my counters a while back I had close t0 400,000 who'd stopped by. And out of those numbers, friendships have developed. One is with another stay-at-home Grandma like me. Some are with women much younger than me. One is with a man who lives here in Oregon. Some are menopausal women sludging along with me as we try the murky waters of middleaged womanhood, finding them confusing and confounding and challenging. I have friendships that have followed me from the beginning and others that have come and gone, just like the seasons of 'real' friendship. 'Real' friendship?! Well, blog friendships are about as real as friendship can get, if you ask me. When I first began writing here, I had a 'real' out-of-home job. I had face-to-face friendships I had time for. Dylan was still a 'dream', not a reality, in my life. I had freedom to come and go as I pleased. I had no idea how much my life was going to change, how I'd begin Round Two of childrearing with the daily care of the two grandsons I now have. How face-to-face friendships would need to be put on hold for a few years. How those friendships would boil down to rushed and sporadic emails. It has been my blog that has sustained me. It has been the contacts I've had with other writers out there who've become the center of what little social life I have at this stage. They laugh with me, cry with me, rejoice with me, connect with me, pray for me. They hear me. This is the definition for "friend":
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
My blog friends are my patron saints. They're lodged in a special part of my heart where I hold them with feelings of deep affection and regard. They are people who are concerned about my welfare, as I am about theirs. They are there for me. I am here for them.
And that...that...is friendship.
Pure and simple.