“I’m looking for some hopeful signs — and something keeps telling me to look in your direction.” — Ashleigh Brilliant
Today is my 800th published post, not counting the special posts linked above. That number becomes more amazing to me the more I think about it. Not only have I been writing that much, but many of you have been reading that much!
This blog contains enough of my words to constitute several full length novels, which is proof that writing a little bit every day can eventually make you an author. Or not. But at least it’s a substantial amount of practice. And those of you who have read most of my posts have now read the equivalent of several full length books, in terms of quantity (no claims about quality implied). At the very least, you have earned my respect for your stamina.
If each of these blog posts had been an annual Christmas newsletter, I would have been sending them out every year since 1215, when noteworthy happenings to report would have included King John signing the Magna Carta, Genghis Khan and the Mongols capturing Beijing, and the birth of Kublai Khan, an event that would have resounding consequences for American high school English students centuries later.
All that to say, I am deeply honored to realize that you have been willing to join me here read my rambling thoughts, and to exchange ideas, observations, jokes, joys and sorrows. For those of you who have been with me steadfastly for over two years, I now have had more contact with you, more frequently, than with almost anyone else I know. Considering that there are some of you whom I’ve still not met face to face, I think that’s a special kind of wonderful.
I got a letter yesterday from my British pen pal, Sue, and we had shared our amazement at having been writing to each other for 25 years now. We have met face-to-face only once, in 2001. Yet our friendship has outlasted many relationships that were largely based on geographic proximity.
Maybe this says something about the power of the written word. Or maybe it means I’m easier to take in writing than in person. Either way, I’m humbled by the many ties I’ve formed through this blog. On a continual basis, I see and hear things that remind me of you. And I have learned so much from you!
I smile so often to think of Sheila (and Bill and Walter and Jack) in their oceanfront home in South Carolina. I think of Merry in Oklahoma and Susan in New Hampshire and Carolyn in Tennessee and Michael in Washington and Mary Ann in California and Bob in Oregon and Cherie in Florida, and I’m literally all over the USA map without taking a step outside my door.
When we visited Lancaster County recently, I thought of Judy when I saw the exquisite crafts, and of Raynard when we went to the Shady Maple. (We weren’t hungry enough for the Smorgasbord, Raynard, but we did enjoy shopping and snacking — and plan to go back one day with bigger appetites! It really is amazing.) We had never been to that part of Pennsylvania, but it felt more familiar than it would have felt even three years ago.
Thanks to Sheila, I know what a Sun Conure is– in fact, I count one among my animal friends now (hello, Walter! 😀 ). Thanks to Boomdee, I know that Canadian rabbits change colors with the seasons. Thanks to Eric, I know those rabbits are called Snowshoe Hares. Thanks to Alys, Michael and others, I know a lot more about the flowers and shrubs I love so much. Sometimes I’ll catch myself saying “I wonder why this plant isn’t blooming? I need to ask Alys” or “What kind of flower is that? Maybe Michael would know…”
I shouldn’t have started naming names, because now so many of you are coming to mind that there’s no way I can write about all of you. When I hear news from around the world, there are so many I’ve met via this blog whose faces come to mind, bringing to life countries where I’ve never had the privilege of traveling. When I pray, I remember the struggles and trials you have shared with me, and ask for blessings in your lives.
Each of you, with your comments or your cheerful Gravatars left at the bottom of my posts, have been part of this online world that has been a source of comfort and joy since the earliest days of Defeat Despair, when our family was coming to terms with lives that had abruptly and unexpectedly and irrevocably changed. Though I don’t post daily now, I still feel connected to all of you every day, and count my associations with you, whether brief or extensive, among the blessings of my life.
I hope you can keep looking here for encouragement. And when I’m in need of reminders of goodness, I know I can look in your direction. As I’ve said so many times– thanks for being here!