My (virtual) life…
My definition of community has been challenged a lot in the past few years. I used to think my community was those living local to me, the people I went to school with, attended church with, worked with.
But we live in a generation when a great deal of our interaction is with a computer screen, or a text message, or an email.
Sometimes I get a little miffed about that. Why can’t we have real-life interaction, or even a phone conversation?
And then a child screams in the background and I remember…
- I can never speak uninterrupted for more than a few
- My quiet times are usually when it would be considered rude to ring someone’s phone.
- Getting out the door (and remaining in a good mood) with five children just doesn’t always keep its original appeal.
My first real introduction to “virtual” society was after I had Evan. He often woke through the night and once I was up, well, it was hard to shut off my brain and get back to sleep. I had recently started scrapbooking and found my way to the message boards on Creating Keepsakes magazine’s website (it’s changed quite a bit since I first participated) and later the 2Peas board. I could chat with other scrapping moms while I tried to rock him back to sleep and slow myself down to get back to bed. I even got a chance to meet some of these women at scrapbooking conventions I attended.
When I started cloth diapering I found the Diaper Pin and later Hyena Cart. The community at HC was great, I even met up with local women from there and made friends I might not have met otherwise. I also opened my shop at HC. The support and encouragement I received from early on was awesome.
Then of course there is Ravelry… where life and technology seemingly combine. I joined Ravelry while it was still in beta testing. I could keep track of all my knitting projects, search through a database of patterns and match up the yarn I had with projects I wanted to make, and I could also take peeks at what my friends were making. There are forums on there too by interest groups. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of the ladies from there at Stitches, MD Sheep and Wool Festival, and the Homespun Yarn Party. So much fun!!
After Nate was born my sisters introduced me to Facebook. Still not sure whether that was a good thing.
But honestly, I never really appreciated my virtual life until Miranda was born.
Prayer requests went out instantly. We could keep everyone updated at the push of a button. I was able to find and ECMO parent group to send messages to for information and support from people who had walked the path and made it to the other side.
… and when she died.
Instead of silence I had support. I could blog about what was going on and people responded. They reached out to me. I was pointed towards infant loss groups, blogs from other moms who were missing their lost little ones, resources for grief support. I got so many messages from family and friends, near and far, close relationships and mere acquaintances, and messages from people I’d never met but had heard about our Miranda from someone else. I could send messages to other moms from the communities I’d been a parts of for so many years that sadly have also suffered the loss of a child, women whom I’ve never met face-to-face but have one of the most intimate connections. They’re willing to listen to whatever I may need to rant about without judging because they’ve felt many of the same disappointments, frustrations, milestones, etc.
I’ve found that there are other Christian women who’ve experienced the loss of their precious child or husband and not turned their back towards God. These are my sisters in Christ with a bond that is unimaginable to someone on the outside of it.
I’m so incredibly thankful for the amazing support, friendships, and relationships I have in “real” life. I can’t express that enough to them.
But I also cannot imagine how this journey would be if my “virtual” life wasn’t what it is. ♥