“I’m reading your blog.”
The words come as a slight surprise. I somehow maintain composure – a smile and something along the lines of “Oh! Great!”
Within, there is a struggle. As a human being, perhaps my greatest desire is to be loved. And to be loved, one must be known. Yet in the putting-myself-out-there, in being known, there is inherent risk. I can no longer hide.
I stand there playing corn hole partnered with women whose age easily doubles mine, the differences between our generation not lost on me. For the afternoon I have gotten my head out of the world of Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, and Allume and I rub shoulders with a different community – yet one that is just as much mine.
“I found your blog.”
24 hours later the words come again. This time I am standing in front of at least a dozen people as we prepare for choir practice. I freeze and smile, but the words make me tremble a bit. I blush as I feel exposed and excited. All at the same time.
Ultimately, this is what I want. I want my in-real-life community to know me. I want to touch lives beyond those on the other end of these ones and zeros.
These two women – much older women – from my church. Reading my blog. Now a part of my community. And I wonder what I have to offer. The shy, young, new girl who fumbles while chasing her wild son around the church. No longer unknown and unseen.
My mind races with questions. What posts are they reading? How much of my mess are they seeing? How will this change how they view me?
“So…tell me about Allume!”
This time the question comes from another church friend well aware of my blogging life, a friend closer to my age with a love for writing, aspirations of publishing a book, and questions about blogging. I ramble quickly, excited to share this part of my life with a real-life acquaintance. And while we talk other ladies listen in and ask questions about our conversation.
*photo credit Janet Yarrison*
My online life is colliding with my “real” life in unexpected ways. I’m nervous because I’m not sure I’m ready. Church is the one place it would be far more comfortable for me to glide in and out of under a guise of anonymity. Never really being known because it’s just too risky.
But God has other plans.
I want to drown in the safe. The connections made via Facebook and Twitter and blogging. I want to hug the necks of my favorite online acquaintances – to drink coffee, gush about the intricacies of blogging, and pretend the world outside of the blogosphere doesn’t exist. And for four days, I’m going to do just that.
I’ve heard at least one person say that when she walked into the Allume conference she immediately knew she had found her tribe.
I want to feel that. (And, if it’s as good as they say, I probably will.)
But then Allume will be over and I will return to the real. To the one-on-one. To the ladies I sit next to in choir and church Bible study and potluck dinners.
And even now I hear God whisper:
“Aprille, this is your tribe.”
I don’t know what this will means for my relationships within my local church or for this blogging space. I don’t know how the two will intersect in the days, months, and (God-willing) years to come.
I just know that the two have already intersected.
Ready or not, “real light living” has become “real LIFE living.”
My only hope and prayer is that God’s light shine through my life – the online and the face-to-face. That His story transcends mine. And that community is built regardless of the medium.