Thursday, 24 May 2007

Small Miracles

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This blog idea was inspired by a post by Jeff

When I first obtained an Internet connection one techno-phobic friend was horrified to hear that I went onto website forums and talked... to strangers! She said, "Do you know how many weirdoes there are out there on the Internet?"
At the time I burst out laughing and replied, "Do you know how many weirdoes there are in my neighbourhood?"
In a two block radius of our old house we knew of a convicted paedophile, a wife-beater and three people the police were watching for various reasons.. and I lived on the "good" side of town!

Not that I was stupid on the Internet. I picked my websites carefully and read both what people said as well as what lay unspoken between the lines. Even being careful I've had the odd weird encounter, and met a few "nasties", but all in all it's been a fantastic experience being online.

The thing I never expected when I entered the global world of the Internet was the friendships I would make. I'm a loner at heart. You'd probably never believe that to meet me. People in the "real" world bill me as an extrovert, but basically I prefer my own company to group activities. Big crowds stress me and I hate supermakets and shopping malls. I have also never been the type of female to blab her personal life to her girl friends. I've never been the type to have close friends of either gender really, but since I went online that has changed dramatically. I now have loads of friends, in every corner of this planet. Not only that, these are FRIENDS - not just people I share a few fun times with, these are people who I have shared my soul with.

My Internet friends have carried me through hard times in ways I can only describe as miraculous. We have come together to laugh, to share, to pray, to rage and to weep. We have helped members through broken relationships, family deaths, illness, bankruptcy, retrenchment and jobs/bosses from Hell. Two years ago when I had a miscarriage my doctor was surprised when my psych evaluation test results came back showing no signs of depression. I told her it was because I had good friends to lean on. It was true. My husband and I didn't go through those months alone. We were held in the love of our online "family". Those strong internet-friends arms.. what miracles they have brought me!

When I started blogging last month I saw it as a way to soothe my addictive need to write rather than a way to make friends. I have about thirty internet people I already call friends. I wasn't looking for more, but already in the short time I have been blogging I have met several people I would be thrilled and honoured to eventually add to my "friends" list. I've also wandered around blogs watching and reading how people here reach out - to help, share a laugh, give advice, sympathise and/or comfort one another.
Small miracles, taking place virtually unnoticed, every day.
I must confess to being surprised.. and impressed. Yes, there are the spiteful and nasty bloggers. There will always be people worth avoiding, just like those highly unpleasant neighbours in my old home town. It's all about choosing your friendships wisely, wherever that might be.

Another online friend and I once chewed over this topic and came to the conclusion that the reason internet friendships can be so intense is that here we meet through our words alone. No other stimuli get in the way to bias our first impressions. We meet in thoughts and emotions without age, race, gender, culture, or social position in the way. We meet as souls, or spirit, and that is a very intense and personal meeting that rarely happens in the "real world".

Of course you get those on the internet who try to hide behind masks, but I've found very few who can keep their true persona out of their words and thoughts, even if they may make up fake names and identities. Who you truly are shines through.

In fact, I even found my true love through the internet. We met not because we were looking for a relationship. We met because we both held out a hand to offer help to the other, and from those two smaller miracles a far bigger one came to be..

..but that's another story. : -)

10 comments:

  1. ... it's weird only yesterday I left a comment somewhere along the lines of what you just said.. as to how we don't have any physical distractions or barriers while we are blogging, the way we have when we meet people in real life.. here we expose our most vulnerable self... our truths...the way we never would when we meet people face to face. The screen is like the shield that we can take cover behind...

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  2. I agree Michelle, without my old and new Internet friends I would have a much harder time of it. I'm not a social kinda gal. I don't like going places where there are people cuz people have cooties....

    I've met lots of freaks and wierdos, but they are all the good kind!

    I think you are right...meeting without physical comtact is great. It allows us to really communicate.

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  3. PS: You blog linked me! You are such a darling!

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  4. Hi Random Magus

    I can add extra weirdness - yesterday I found a post on a web forum I visit titled "Little miracles" and a friend there had added her reply about how she felt pretty much exactly how you've written here.

    I love the ripples of synchronicity! :-)

    ------

    Hi Dustinzgirl

    I know what you mean. Some of the best people I've met out there get labelled "weird". I think the word needs to get dumped for maybe.. "unique" or "individual"? :-D

    I had a friend who once told me I was weird. I just smiled and thanked him. That really freaked him out. LOL

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  5. Hi, Michelle!!!

    THX for your comments on my blogs. :-)))

    Yep, I've also had more interesting and good experiences with my online friends. Besides that, I LOVE the fact that it's bridging the distance between anyone, incl. me and my friends who live in Indo or anywhere else in this whole wide world.

    And as you know, I also met my true love through the internet. :-))) We also didn't actually look for a relationship at that time. We bonded through friendship, and then more...

    Those who haven't really experienced deep, true connection (honest connection) through the internet wouldn't understand the beauty of it, I guess. Besides, sometimes you can be more open to someone far away from you than someone near you (for numerous reasons). And sometimes you feel more comfy WRITING about your deepest feelings than talking about it in words (face to face).

    Moreover, you can really absorb written words more fully than verbal communication (as you can always reread them). In verbal communication, there are too many distractions. Thus, sometimes both parties don't really get to talk about everything they want to talk about (everything in their minds).

    Concerning your comment on my blog entitled "Evil", THANKS for making me feel normal even though I felt bitchy when I wrote that he he...I agree with you COMPLETELY. I don't like denying my feelings or bottling them up. I know that someday they'll explode if I ever do such a thing. I used to hold everything inside me when I was a kid and the rage that exploded every now and then scared the hell out of me (and probably other people who saw the expression of thar rage), so now I just take some time off to deal with it...day in, day out. :-))) I'm feeling MUCH better now, though I'd take a break still for some time before I can truly give myself fully again. :-)))

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  6. Hi Amel

    Yes, I think you are very right about how writing gives you more time to think and stay focussed. I get nervous sometimes in company, then I "gabble". I talk fast and even worse - I sometimes forget what I'm talking about! :-D

    I like this:
    "Those who haven't really experienced deep, true connection (honest connection) through the internet wouldn't understand the beauty of it"

    Yes. It has to be an honest connection.

    Also very true that it is easier to be open to people miles (and even continents) away than close to you.

    Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking reply. :-)

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. Hi Amel

    I have taken out your friend's name so it is safe, but that meant I had to repost your comment in here. Thank you for the information.

    .....................

    AMEL SAID:

    It's really MY pleasure to write and share my thoughts. :-)))) It's hard to do it here in Finland as I'm not able to express myself well in their native language yet, so I LOVE any opportunity that allows me to blabber he he...

    Again THX for the interesting comment you made on my blog. :-)))

    Funny thing, though. The first friend I found here has the same first name as yourself, Michelle. She's into lots of things, incl. tarot and reiki. If you wanna look her up, just google her name: Michelle ...(Arctic Rainbow in ebay). She's into selling weird+special stuff, also in ebay. I actually don't like giving out names like this in a public comment site but I don't have your personal email addy, so I guess it'd be allright since I'm only giving out her name. :-)))

    26 May 2007 06:27

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  9. I forgot - I wanted to add.

    I have an online friend in Australia who is Karelian/Finnish. She went the other way - from far North to far South. :-) She has sent me links to her culture and people. It was very interesting.

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  10. true... very well thought and written, you are a good writer and express your thoughts well, i envy that haha.

    you're totally right, the lack of information actually breaks down barriers in a way doesn't it?

    nice, thoughtful...

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