This Christmas I have experienced some emotion that I never expected. Never had I known so many people that I personally know to go through so much pain and trials. Two children have died unexpectedly in the past week. Any time a child is lost it is heart wrenching, but so close to Christmas and the reminder of stockings and unopened gifts has to be as though there is salt upon an open wound..
There is a lot of buzz about a mom and her family in Florida who had tragedy strike their home last week. A family is in mourning over the loss of their son and there are people attacking her for asking for prayers immediately after the accident and the posting of pictures immediately following. Three years ago, maybe my reaction would have been similar to this, but that was before I began to blog online. For many the thought of being online and announcing something so tragic seems foreign and odd.
I started writing on MySpace when I was making some transitions in my spiritual life. At that time I had begun to find God in a deeper way and was learning about myself, how I thought and how my life needed to change. Writing was a way for me to keep my journey and path straighter.
I was then faced with a large challenge when my husband learned of a daughter that we never knew existed. My life turned upside down and I truly began blogging. I was going through so many emotions on a daily basis that it was the only way to express it, understand it, and get it all out. There are people out there that might believe that I was trying to exploit my situation...but in reality I was using that open forum as a support group which I desperately needed. Through that experience I began to meet people online and develop friendships with others. I realized that there was actually a support group of friends on the internet. All of the sudden I was faced with the reality that people online were PEOPLE and they were JUST LIKE ME.
Shortly after my eldest daughter joined our family I was given another blow in my life. It was the discovery of my sister's near death and the reality of an unspeakable cancer. My first response was to cry out to my friends on MySpace and I did it in a flurry of tears and pain. I was looking for anything to soothe my pain and give me some sort of understanding because I had none. I also knew it was the fastest way to get a prayer line started and those friends can PRAY HARD.
You see, unlike my every day friends...these were friends that actually knew my inner core. They knew when I was having a painful day or a joyous day. They were there when I was pondering my existance and when I was dealing with grief. I felt that it was easier to bare my soul to those that were not IN MY FACE then to those who could look into my eyes and realize that I was, afterall, human.
Through the trials of the past couple of years I have also learned that as valued as the friends that I have online, I need to have friends close by to depend on. I have learned to walk away from my computer, and subsequently some of my friends, to develop relationships around me and to feel the embrace of a friend. It is something that has not been easy for me...to experience that kind of friendship after years of building walls and trying to stay on a pedestal of good standing in the public eye. I had to let my guard down and realize that I am HUMAN and have faults and have fears...and that I do require and deserve a tangible friendship in which I can bare the secrets of my life.
I would like to take this time to address those that may or may not understand the life of a blogger or someone who's friends are online. It is a natural reaction to reach out to those that love you, understand you, and will pray for you. It is completely natural and understandable. If those people are on your computer...then naturally that is where you are going to go to.
I pray for that family. I pray that they know that there are people that love them and will stand by them online and offline. I pray that they know that even through this trial that they are aware of the love of their Heavenly Father. I pray that those around them are able to extend the hands and feet of Christ to their door and give them an outpouring of love that they have never experienced. I pray that those that are close to them keep them in the prayers daily, even after the ceremonies have been completed. I pray that those that have put judgement upon them that they reexamine their responses and that they extend compassion to those that are suffering.