It was early on in December, and I needed to drive home from the coffee shop on a weekday morning to relieve my husband of "toddler duty" so he could go onto work. But first, I pulled into the parking lot of a dollar store. Advent had just begun, and we needed a pink candle for our wreath. After quickly locating a small candle, I walked over to the checkout counter. A short, dark-haired woman on the older side of middle age smiled at me, scanned my candle, and asked me a rather random question: Where did you get that skirt?
I brushed the well-worn fabric of my beloved hippie skirt, answering, Oh, I got it in Savannah, Georgia, a while back. Why do you ask?
The woman responded that the fabric reminded her of fabrics back home, in Malaysia. My ears perked up, and we chatted for a few minutes about how long she had been the U.S., that kind of thing. Then, I asked her if she had family there. Yes, the woman responded. She still had one family member over there.
Has he been affected by the flooding in Penang? I inquired.
The emotion on this woman's face was hard distinguish. Shock? Surprise? Gratitude? Maybe a mixture of all of these. It flooded across her face as she asked how do you know about this? before responding that her relative was in a different part of Malaysia and was unaffected.
In this moment, I realized just how incredible the blogging community is.
As I told the woman, I knew about the flooding in Malaysia-a topic which I'm guessing was barely touched by any news sources here in the U.S.-because Rachel had written about it just a few weeks earlier. Isn't this amazing? Reading about this crisis from her blog enabled me to reach out to a woman in a dollar store.
I love how reading books enlarges my worldview, and I've been discovering how blogging does something similar, yet more intimately. While I can read books about different cultures and events around the world, by the time I read a book about an event, months or years have most likely passed since that event took place, creating a separation between myself and the events I read about.
There's also the separation between myself and the author. A man or woman writes a book, but then it goes through many steps and is sent to editors, agents, publishers, storekeepers-you get the idea-before it reaches my hands. I am far removed from the actual author of the book.
With blogging, on the other hand, I am much more closely connected to the man or woman writing about life and world events. Reading a blog post is intimate, because I know that it's gone straight from that man or woman to me, perhaps with some editing or formatting, but much less than a book would go through. And the author of these words is the one who responds to comments and e-mails, building a close bridge of communication among readers in the blogging community.
We may disagree about politics, religion, and lifestyle choices, and we may come from completely different backgrounds, but as we write and/or respond to blog posts, we expand our worldviews, open our minds, and build bridges of compassion and dialogue.
To all of you who blog, thank you for adding your unique voices and experiences to the online world. To those of you who read our blogs, thank you for listening to us and even occasionally providing feedback. It's kind of mindblowing to look at a blog statistics page and see how many people out there take time to read the thoughts and reflections that make it into this space.
When I first started blogging all those years ago, I never imagined how much I would grow through it, and how much I would come to love and appreciate the community here. It truly is an amazing gift, for which I'm grateful. I'm excited to bring some thoughts onto this blog over the coming year that I've been tossing back and forth for a while, and maybe I'll even try out some new things, if I'm able to figure out technology (a constant struggle!) and if I'm able to make the time (because life with a toddler is draining, guys!). Anyways, now I'm just rambling and I'm gonna go spend time with my toddler before getting him ready for bed, so I'll end here. I hope you all have a great continuation of 2018, and a wonderful weekend!