I flung open the door in my exuberance, probably startling the company coming up the sidewalk to our front porch before they even had a chance to ring the doorbell. But I just couldn’t contain my excitement any longer.
Earlier, I sat patiently in my living room, waiting for that company to arrive and reflecting back seven years ago.
Back in the summer of 2010, I launched this blog on a whim. My writing skills may have been a bit rusty because I hadn’t written much of anything in many years, other than a few articles for a quarterly newsletter at my place of employment.
Oh, I had fiddled around in the blogging world once before writing some “fluff” (what we used to call the non-essential stories when I worked for a daily newspaper eons ago) on another blogging site.
My words weren’t serious with my first blog; I was just passing time while I recuperated from a health diagnosis and ensuing surgery/radiation treatments. Once I recovered and returned to my job at a non-profit, blogging got relegated to the back burner – way back.
But the lonely empty nest stage of my life hit me hard emotionally a few years later, and once again, I turned to writing. And Mama’s Empty Nest breathed life.
This time, seriously. This time, really pouring out words from my soul and my heart. This time, writing became even more cathartic.
This time, putting my thoughts into words and sending them out into cyberspace for anyone to see although I sincerely doubted that anyone other than my own family would even bother to read what I’d written.
From time to time that first month of blogging, a family member or a friend would leave a comment on one of my posts and how that made me smile! Then one day, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Someone, some anonymous person out there in the internet world, someone I did not know, wrote a comment on one of my blog posts.
A few more instances happened when complete strangers commented, and eventually, I became a part of a little blogging circle community. It was fun and I enjoyed reading other bloggers’ posts and conversing with them by comments, and a few of them have become Facebook friends.
After about a month though, I received a notification that a comment had been left from a new reader. As with some of the other fellow bloggers, all we knew about each other were our screen names and the titles of our blogs.
It was the same with this new reader – only a screen name and a link to her blog – but somehow this one seemed different. Her comments touched my heart and I often thought, “She really gets me.“
She often understood what I meant when other readers didn’t quite get my implications. And she was willing to let me know she was a fellow believer in Christ.
She read my blog. I read hers. She left comments. So did I. And what followed still kind of boggles my mind.
We became friends. Real friends. The kind who, not only communicate on each other’s blogs and Facebook, but email, even occasionally talk by phone, and exchange real hand-written letters by mail.
We became the kind of friends who share things of the heart. The kind of true and trustworthy friends who pray for each other and our families.
My young adult children were incredulous and teased me because for several years I had issued dire warnings to them about being extremely careful and very wary of friendships made on the web.
After all, who knew what evil lurked in people’s minds and so many online personas could be totally fake. Yeah, they threw all of that right back at me when I told them of my online friendship with one of my blog readers.
The more this reader and I conversed with one another, the more we found we had in common. Like minds and like faiths. And so a budding friendship truly blossomed. We became soul sisters. Sisters in Christ.
Seven years have passed since our first online contact. Seven years in which we have gotten to know one another well, know all about each other’s families, and hopes and dreams and realities and disappointments.
But we had never actually met in person. Until last week. My friend, her husband, and daughter traveled from their Midwest home to visit family in a nearby state. She casually mentioned they would be traveling through our area.
That’s when I experienced a light bulb moment! Wouldn’t it be the most amazing thing if we could meet somewhere to say hello in person and maybe have lunch? Kind of an exciting thing to consider. As we discussed the logistics of doing so, she shared that they could actually travel through my hometown on their way home.
Without hesitation, I extended an invitation to our home for lunch. We knew we wouldn’t have a long time to visit because they needed to continue on their journey homeward, but maybe a little stop at our house would be restful.
So last Friday, I waited for my friend I’ve never met in person to arrive on my doorstep. Homemade beef vegetable soup stewed in the crockpot for their arrival. Sandwiches and dessert were also ready and waiting. Papa didn’t have to work that day, so he noticed their vehicle coming down our driveway and shouted to me, “They’re here!”
And that’s when I flung wide open the door. I don’t even remember what I said to my friend as she stood there, arms laden with thoughtful gifts of freshly picked New York state apples and other goodies, with her husband and daughter.
All I know is that we greeted one another with warm hugs and huge smiles of joy.
We lunched, we talked, we hugged. We smiled as our husbands and daughters joined in conversations. And all too soon, it was time for them to leave.
What remains from our meeting in person that day? The warmest memories. The joys of a continuing friendship. My friend telling me coming to visit was like coming home.
And each time I pass by her delicious gift of apples sitting on my kitchen counter, their fragrant aroma reminds me of the blessing of that sunny October day.
The little Johnny Appleseed song I sang with my children when they were small comes to my mind: “Oh, the Lord’s been good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need – the sun and the rain and the apple seed, the Lord’s been good to me.”
And He has been good to me in giving me this gift of friendship (and others as well) by way of this blog.
Seven years ago, I never would have dreamed that the seeds of a blogging friendship would produce such wonderful fruit.
“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.” ~ Aristotle