One year ago today I began blogging at my original site for Gifts Of The Journey. I began my blog with a specific goal of keeping my family and friends updated on my travels last year while I was going back and forth across the ocean primarily between England and America. What began as a way to stay in touch with folks in the U.S. evolved very quickly into something more to me.
I’ve been telling stories and writing my whole life, but before I began posting at Gifts Of The Journey I rarely handed anything over for anyone to read or comment on not because I was overly concerned that the content might be no good, (okay..maybe a little) but more because it always felt a bit unfinished as if I’d left something undefined out of whatever I’d written. Blogging here on a regular basis has provided an unexpected gift in that I’ve learned how to write a piece quickly and let it go. There’s no time to over edit or over think things in the blogging world and I’ve grown to love that part of the process.
There’s certainly more to all this blogging than just an exercise in writing though and I want to touch on a couple of things I’ve thought about as I considered why I blog on this first anniversary of Gifts Of The Journey.
About eleven years I spent a weekend at a retreat with a friend and a group of women who’d gathered to share their stories. She’d spent time with this group before and I can’t remember why they let a stranger join them, but they made me feel welcomed without reservation. The experience of that weekend left a deep impression on me as woman after woman told different pieces their story. As an observer, I was frequently shocked by the intense emotion of some of these women who at times would move from tears as they talked to something that sounded like a kind of wailing release of grief. My caretaker self could barely sit still though the most painful parts and I found myself wanting to comfort and reassure. The group was not there however to perform any kind of therapy in fact I have no recollection of any real group leader or guide, but rather a collective a women just sitting and listening to anyone who felt compelled to share. Some talked and some just listened offering nothing more than a hug and tissue when emotions overflowed. My friend and I talked at length about later this especially after one woman in particular became so overwrought that her heartache made me want to weep along side her.
As I remember it, my friend explained that sometimes just being a witness to a person’s story is enough. Having someone sit and just listen as they told their stories was clearly powerful and appeared in some cases to be healing for those who wanted to share.
I am reminded of this sometimes when I think about the blogging world and what this medium has done for me. For instance, when I consider the pain and personal nature of this post one might wonder why I would publish it on the internet for the world to see instead of just typing it up for my sister and sending it off for her to read privately. There’s something very healing in sharing a story like Peanut Butter & Jelly. Could it be similar to those women who gathered to sit and witness the stories they felt compelled to share. Has the internet and the blogging community replaced those women sitting around the circle…I’m not sure, but I do know that I learn more about myself every time I remember and write about experiences like the one I had in the post, At Fifteen and sometimes I feel a need to share it.
There are times when a blog post can be a subject too happy not to share like the story told here or little messages of love like those here and here. Others have been sent out to help anyone who may have felt like this or needed to hear this. Some of you have been reading my posts since I started writing here while others may have found me after I moved to this site. Either way there’s plenty to read as I was surprised to see when the number of posts from both sites totaled a 139 snippets of my past and present waiting to be found.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time these will not be new stories to you…you’ve already been a witness. Many of the 19,260 plus views have been silent witnesses choosing not to comment and that’s okay… just stopping by is truly appreciated. To those of you who left messages of hope and support after reading certain posts or who joined me in the celebrations of the last year…I want to say thank you to you all. You’ve been wonderful and so appreciated and I am thrilled to have formed new friendships through this now familiar medium.
Whether we’re telling our individual stories or listening to someone else’s we are a witness…of good times and bad, hope and heartbreak, joy and discovery, and sometimes when we’re lucky, healing.
With all that goes on in each of our lives sometimes a witness is just what we need.
I’m leaving you with a favorite song, Marc Cohn singing, Let Me Be Your Witness and thanks again…for being mine.