Online friendships are a strange thing.
I don’t know what some of you look like. And none of you know what I look like, with my current haircut (and a lot of you don’t even know that my hair is chin length right now!). In my mind, the vast majority of you talk like you’re from Northern Michigan. And you don’t realize that I have a rather high-pitched voice that sounds like a child’s.
We don’t see each other everyday. None of us know the other’s life situation, in the same detail that we would, if we knew each other in “real life.”
And yet, we’re writers. As such, we’re often more open in our writing, than in person. There is a part of me–perhaps the most real part of me there is–that you see more here (and in e-mails) than people who know me, see in person. We’ve shared secrets. Many of you were with me, in very real ways, last winter and spring, when my struggles felt unbearable. Thinking back, I remember love, and that always makes me smile.
Right now, so many of you are going through such challenges. From my vantage point, it is so hard to know what to do. Distance makes the simplest gesture impossible. Often, words are just redundant, and I wish I could transcend time and space and give each of you a hug.
But since I can’t, I do what I can do. I say the words that aren’t enough. I give you advice that you don’t need, hoping that you’ll read the message between the lines–that you aren’t alone. It is both an experience of helplessness, and one of love, in its pure form.
I know many of you, if not all of you, are reading this now. And many others, who have someone else, whom you have never seen in person, who wants nothing more than to give you a hug right now.
And all I can share with you, with all of you, is this. Don’t feel bad that people worry about you, when times are difficult. Don’t feel like you’re “dumping” on those who care about you.
Instead, feel blessed. Feel lucky, that people care enough to worry. Smile, with the understanding that you are not alone.