Saturday, May 12, 2007

Imaginary Friends

I had a phone message on my machine from one of my bloggy friends. We had been in contact through her blog, (and mine) and we had exchanged a few emails, but I had never heard her voice. It somehow changed the dynamic to hear her speak. She actually sounded much as I would have imagined, only better, if that makes any sense.

She was telling me about a kindness another blog reader had extended to her, apparently through me, and wanted to thank me. I hadn't really done anything, other than mention her blog in one of my blogs and give a link to her site. That's it. Yet a connection was made and through that connection at least two more people have enriched each other's lives.

Some of my sisters (and plenty of people I imagine... maybe not you since you're actually reading this post) can't understand how virtual friends can be worth anything. The tendency is to think of them as "imaginary friends" and therefore not worthy of the same affection or effort that's involved in being a real flesh and blood friend. I bought that story for awhile because I thought I agreed. Now I'm not so sure.

If Jesus were alive today, would he blog? Would he find his disciples in the Yellow Pages or google the Web?

Today in Bible study we discussed the lesson from Luke where Jesus sends his disciples out to heal and teach. Take no money or extra clothes, and if someone welcomes you, stay awhile... how would that go over today? Not very well I bet. No, our culture and our technology require different tactics to achieve the same results... healing broken hearts, inspiring indifferent minds, converting people's everyday lives.

I have flesh and blood friends that I don't see often. They are in my heart, on my mind. I say prayers for them when I know they need them. But I do not experience them in the flesh except maybe once a month, in some cases, once a year. I have bloggy friends I have never met and probably never will. Yet because we have shared ourselves and our ideas through our writing, they are in my heart, on my mind, and I say prayers for them when I know they need them.

What's the difference?


HeyJules said...

Beautiful post, CJ. I feel the same way. I can't get over how interwoven all of our lives become when we start blogging and begin the whole process of "You really should be reading..."

I, too, pray for those people I have never met - much like I pray for my friends or for those in another part of the world that just need someone to stand in the gap for them. I told Julie D. at "The Happy Catholic" the other day that I can't wait to get to heaven to hear how much God loves the way we use this Internet thing to tell the world about our love for Him.

You just know He's smiling...

Pat said...

A *real* flesh and blood friend…
and yet flesh and blood is so temporary. I like thinking we connect at the spiritual level. Interestingly enough, the virtual friends I've had a chance to meet have been very much like their internet presence. But, of course, we're friends because we talk about things not dependent on flesh and blood, for the most part.

Anonymous said...

I *so* agree... my "bloggy friends" have become a vital part of what I consider my community, especially as I strike out into this crazy journey called religious life! My "classmates" are not GROPs, they are a novice CSJP, a final professed OP on the west coast, a temporary professed OSB in southern Indiana, and an RSM on the east coast, a discerner in Houston, and on and on. I a happy that my vocation, formation, and leadership team members have recognized this and are encouraging me to stay connected with this "virtual" and life-giving community! We may never all meet face to face, but these connections are vital and real to me as if I had classmates in this community.