Saturday, September 6, 2008

IRL

Mosaic Woman does not work the same hours every day, but there are two days of the week that allow us to commute together, if we choose to do so. On those days, she takes a shower while I eat breakfast, and check on the weather and e-mails. When I clicked on one from a blogger, I expected to see a simple response from a comment I had left the night before. Not a truly personal message

It asked me if I knew someone IRL. Then told me something devastating had happened to her. I responded that I had not known her In Real Life, but that I appreciated knowing what had happened.

Then I cried. Maybe because I couldn't imagine the pain she had in her soul. Maybe because I thought of the one death I truly feared living through and it is unimaginable.

I walked upstairs to shower and passed on the sad news. We left the house and I left the notes I had taken on the evolution of bacteria. The sad news sent MM into a funk and she read about my blogger friend at work. We talked about the sadness on the way home.

It was a good night to meet with friends who make us laugh. I wish that in this time of desolation my friend has some distractions too, even if brief. The taste of food given to nourish her. The flash of color from a bird she loves. I wish her peace in this time.

I have a student who would be happy spending all his time connecting with people on the computer. I have heard many say that computer relationships are not real. I am grateful to experience both. In my introverted nature folk who know me IRL are getting to know me better through this blog. I spent yesterday curious about that phrase IRL. This woman traveled with me through the spiritual exercises. She knows me well. I have traveled with her through a year of her life including praying for her as she completed CPE this summer. I know her well, in this life of mine. In my mind I see her experiencing what I can't imagine. I wish her comfort, peace, hope, joy, and love and call on God to send forth his spirit. I almost deleted "joy", wondering if it was wrong or strange or unexpected to wish for joy at this time. But then I thought, how could I not wish for moments of joy to enter into this sadness.

PEACE, HOPE, JOY, LOVE...

10 comments:

  1. I completely agree that the online connections can be as real, and possibly more authentic, as the face-to-face connections. Indeed, that is how I met our mutual friend more than a decade ago.

    Your blog post has me thinking about the term too. I have a close and very important group of friends who I met through message boards and blogging. I flew cross country eight years ago to meet a some of them. I am fortunate to travel frequently to the area where Gannett Girl lives and have met with her and walked with her a few times.

    I am thinking of her constantly. I'm sorry to hit you with the news out of the blue like that. I sensed there might be a connection because of your mutual references to Ignatian Spirituality. I hoped that even if you didn't know her well, you would keep her in your prayers.

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  2. Kathryn-- you did hit me out of the blue, but I would have heard the news. GG is in my prayers. Maybe it was best to hear from a mutual friend. I have connected with her through our blog connections and I too am thinking of her often, but my brain is one that does not linger on thoughts for long so she floats in and out as my waking hours pass and as the rain falls... a tropical storm is passing over me as I write.

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  3. Believe it or not, Wayne, but with about seven years of blogging under my belt, I have never before encoutered the use of IRL as a term. Had to google to determine its meaning and came here after replying to your e-mail only to learn of Gannet Girl's loss. I know her only via comments here and there, but am saddened to hear of such tragedy.....

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  4. Yes, isn't it amazing that we can feel real connections with folks we haven't met in person...one can learn much if one pays attention.... This IS part of our real lives as we now know it-this blogging world... GG probably has more friends and folks that care for her now than she may ever know....While I often curse this method of communication, it is sometimes a blessing too...
    I heard these words when my family lost someone quite dear...I had never heard them before but have heard them several times since, and I say them often, too.... "Be gentle with yourself...."
    And with that I shed tears of profound sadness for this person I know if only by her words....

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  5. Jim-- it was the first time I came across IRL also. thanks for the e-mails.

    Giggles-- the storm will hopefully be gone for our church's picnic. hope to see you there.

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  6. Thank you all for your loving words.

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  7. On further reflection, IRL might be one of those quaint, archaic terms dating back to early days of e-mail and message boards. People thought cyber-relationships might be different and therefore came up with the frequently used acronym, IRL. Now that we have learned that those friendships can be every bit as authentic as face-to-face relationships, the word "friend" is all that is needed.

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  8. GG-- us "nonCatholic Ignaciophiles" bird watchers need to stick together... I heard our demographic is going to decide the election. Peace be with you.

    Kathryn-- OK, GG is my friend. I have some thoughts on your latest post.

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  9. I hadn't really thought about online relationships before I started blogging. Now I know what a difference they can make.

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  10. Kievas-- OK why not blame the wife, she introduced me to an on-line tutorial about web 2.0 and here I am connecting with all kinds of good folk. thanks for stopping by. if you have a chance check out the music I linked to on my recent post. I think you will like it.

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