This month marks the first anniversary of Pilgrim on the Loose. Whether you’re the sentimental type or just dutiful in marking special events, anniversaries typically usher in a time of assessing where you’ve been and where you’re going. I’m doing the same with this blog.
My favorite part of writing this blog has been sharing an experience, information, or insight that taught me something I thought might be useful to you as well.
I believe in the power of story. Every one of us is writing a story with our life. Together we are part of an even bigger story that God is writing. Sharing our stories is one of the most powerful things we do as human beings. There would be a lot more love and understanding in the world if we knew each other’s story–our real story.
But we hide.
Sometimes we hide with good reason. Not everyone is a safe person. I understand the importance of boundaries. Nevertheless, we lose something when we fail to connect deeply and authentically with each other, especially in this fractured, technologically-manic era that has left us with the attention span of a gnat and feeling more disconnected than ever.
That’s why I thought this blog would be a great way to foster a deeper conversation about what matters in life. It turns out it’s been the hardest writing I’ve ever done.
For one thing, sharing deeply on the Internet is almost an oxymoron. It’s the Wild Wild West, where people rant and pose and hide behind fake names. A lot of what’s out there is not what it seems. It’s like trying to talk about life purpose at a carnival. I’m somewhere out there in the crowd, waving my arms and yelling, “Over here, over here!”
Once people find this site, I receive wonderful notes from readers sharing poignant stories and personal wisdom–most of which I can’t share because it’s confidential, although it tells me there are lots of people trying to figure out life. I also hear from malcontents and people who have ordained themselves as the Righteousness Police and who can’t stand anyone who colors outside their lines.
I deeply admire writers like Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Anne Lamott and Donald Miller who are able to be stunningly vulnerable in their writing, with a total disregard for self-preservation or fear of being misunderstood. Somehow they’ve found a way to let the crud roll off their back. I’m not good at that part.
Once you get past that issue, there are endless blog experts who warn that the only way to be heard above the noise is to build a platform, post on lots of other blogs that will drive readers to you, crank out lots of free stuff people can download, join every social network under the sun, post at least three times a week, blah, blah, blah. I forget the rest. It made me so tired I had to take a nap.
I know there are an astonishing 70-160 million blogs today, depending on whose statistics you use. No wonder bloggers are hungry for a way to stand out from the pack. But at what price? Nothing should trump real life, face-to-face relationships, wrestling with God about your doubts and questions, putting an arm around each other when it’s needed. That’s what matters.
So get out there and live. Live like you mean it! I’ll do the same and we’ll leave the outcome to God.
Verla…How fun to find this, I love celebrating anniversaries too.
Congratulations on this huge milestone!
I’m so busy I don’t read anything outside of textbooks, but I always eagerly look forward to your blog posts. In fact, I save them all and forward them to people I think need it. It is a joy to read great encouragement, great story telling, spiritual depth and common sense in one blog AND with the writing so good you can taste it! Every time I read your blog, it’s like having coffee with you….
Keep it up! You are an oasis along the way…
Tish and Anita, thanks for the kind words. So glad to know the posts are encouraging!