When I was debating last week about continuing my blog, I received many wonderful comments from people who I had never met, as well as friends both online and off. So I guess will stick around as long as my fingers can operate this crazy keyboard hehe. I realized something just today from another person’s post too–this blog can and should be my legacy for others and will likely outlast me if I choose it to.
One day when I pass, be it sooner or in 30 years, these writings, good, bad, ugly or other, will still exist somewhere and be a record of my life and why as well as how I lived it. So I am writing my memoirs and didn’t even realize it! Kind of a humbling thought very honestly. But it also means some great-niece or nephew or whoever will get the big money too when it becomes a made-for-TV movie (fairly unlikely!)…because I do not expect to see that day hehe. But blogging or various other internet contacts are potentially a gift for us all to benefit from.
Some say that the online community prevents us from reaching out to our local neighbors–I disagree. Since the earliest days of American Online (I first signed on 17 years ago in 1995), and in more recent years with Face Book and now blogging I have connected with friends from over 100 nations, virtually every US state, and priests and ministers (and an Archbishop or two such as Chaput and now-Cardinal Burke!) who I may never myself meet but who have met or who have known such greats as the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI or Blessed John Paul II–or others who personally knew Blessed Mother Teresa or hosts of other amazing persons or potential saints who will live forever in this world and the next.
I have been privileged (as well as chastised at times!) to chronicle my own changes in both my religious and political leanings, and have been challenged strongly at every juncture but have learned (and hopefully helped others to grow as well) during that evolutionary process which still goes on towards the final gift of a life with the God we all one day will face.
I have been gifted with–just today in fact–a two-hour conversation with a new FB friend from Michigan, two states over from MN where I live, where we shared in-depth about things absolutely no one among my “face to face” family or friends has taken the time or energy to even learn about me. And I hopefully helped and encouraged him too. I think I did. I “walked” online with and later by many phone conversations another friend, also from Michigan, for 3 full years who was confirmed a Catholic in 2006 on the same evening I was, from the moment we met in a Catholic chatroom on Yahoo until his untimely death from cancer at age 29. And I still miss Rich so very much. Our lives indeed touched each other and now I know that he prays for me from beyond. The simple crucifix I sent to his widow when he died was used on the casket during his wake and funeral. His lovely wife now has a new love in her life and a beautiful baby on the way, after having experienced more pain than any one young woman deserves at such an age. I am happy for her. Rich is too.
I have discovered old friends from high school and college who I had wondered about for over 30 years. I have also interacted with not one, but 4 or 5 of my favorite actors or actresses from my childhood favorite television show “Dark Shadows,” among others, and who have personally at least said at very least a hello or two, one even wishing me a happy birthday this year (thanks Marie Wallace!), and another (Christopher Pennock) praying (well in his case chanting, as he is Tibetan Buddhist) for the recovery of a dear loved one from cancer. To think that they actually cared enough to do so is utterly mind-boggling to my brain and heart. I have an email or note from one not one but two of the actors from the greatest movie of all time “The Sound of Music.” I have even connected with people from worlds I am no longer a part of, but whose lives still mattered to me then and now, such as two (be scandalized if you must!) who bared it all in PLAYGIRL in the 1980s when I was a young man struggling to work through my SSA sexuality while still hanging on to a traditional marriage. Who would dream that one day I would be in contact with any of the above-mentioned people–priests to porn stars, actors to old friends from school days, and almost daily a new person who shares the Faith which is now more important to me than all of the past–my Catholic Christian journey.
Because of certain health issues of my own I do not get out “on the town” a lot other than work, sleep, work, and more sleep. Plus in between I study a lot and live alone so my life is somewhat reticent-leaning, you might say. But I have a world-wide family and I can talk to them day or night. You cannot sign on to the computer at any given hour without at least someone, somewhere, who is readily available to chat if you wish to do so.
Yes it is true it can be misused or overdone. And I have done both at times. It can also replace the “face to face” and we should not ever allow it to. But why choose between the two, when we can have such a great gift at our literal fingertips? A young man, a bright and brave teen who is a devout Christian from the primarily Muslim Pakistan called me and sang “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to me last year when I turned 55, when most of my siblings or other friends and relatives and even my dad forgot to do so! I have a Christmas birthday and it is easy for it to get lost among the shuffle of other events that time of year so I am not complaining. But I saved his message to CD and will always have it and treasure it. Thank you Chris Michael. A similar thing happened from India a few years ago with another Catholic Christian friend named John.
And, speaking of Muslim brothers and sisters, I have a FB friend who produced an I-MAX movie “Arabia” (which just came out on DVD/Blu Ray–so get to Amazon and buy it for an amazing treat!) and who I have had many warm contacts with. Many worry, and rightly so, that Muslim extremists are on the increase. They are. That however is all the more reason for us to learn from those beautiful Muslims who, like Hamzah Jamjoom, have chosen instead to be “bridge builders” and do so in such a brilliant way. And who would guess I would be able to one day speak, at least online, to this extraordinary young man who loves God and humanity.
The entire world is ours right now. We should enjoy it while we can. One day it may not be. But today–TODAY–whatever faults FB or “Al Gore‘s Internet” may have, we still have an online community made up of real people and a world that I would not have dreamed of knowing or connecting with as a child or young adult. Even early rock stars or those in Hollywood did not have the opportunity for contacts that the average person can have today at the flip of a switch.
So yes let’s use it–just don’t abuse it. And to each of you and to those I may not have specifically mentioned, I have a feeling this short answer may develop into a much longer post one day…so much more to say. But the short answer is this…we would not have touched one another had it not been for this crazy internet thing…and thank you all for reading the blog and letting me know my words actually do matter. God bless–lots– to my friends and family, old, new, and yet to be known. I think this may be a small taste of what heaven will be like.
- Catholic First, Christian First (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Another Blogging Milestone: 15,000 “Hits,” 130 Posts, “Visits” From 97 Nations, Nearly 200 Followers Counting Facebook, Twitter, and Email Subscribers, and a Personal Note From Jefferson Bethke: Not Too Bad for 3.5 Months!!! (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Some Milestones, an Award…and Dr Thomas Howard Too! (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Christopher West, SSA and Heroes (and Brandon Vogt too!) (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Archbishop Chaput says Obama administration sold out Catholic supporters By Benjamin Mann (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- Archbishop Nienstedt – Hero of the Faith and Family Values (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)