Five minutes (well, we’ll see).
My schedule often puts me behind the eight ball when it comes to the Five Minute Friday writing exercise. I’m still at work when the pre-festivities Twitter party begins and am more likely than not in the car on the way home or running errands when the prompt hits. But I like to join in when I can – this is still my favourite spontaneous writing exercise.
It’s not just the writing or the tweeting that grabs me. It’s the community. There is so much depth and breadth here – more than I ever imagined. And so, I return to the prompt, four days after it’s been given, to share some thoughts.
On Fridays a bunch of brave writers gather here to all spend five collective minutes writing on a single prompt. It’s a great way to catch your breath at the end of a long week. This blessed, beautiful place where we open our hearts and let words and tears and the inner workings of our lives bleed and flow and dance across the virtual pages. Yes, this community opens wide and invites you in to share. Come and visit and read. You will be blessed.
This week: Dear
I am a keeper of all of the things. I’m not going to use the “h” word – that’s a bigger reach than I’m willing to take. I am a collector. I am a treasurer (sometimes with all this treasure, I am also a treasure hunter). I am a gatherer and preserver of all things necessary and unnecessary because someday, they might be.
In among the collectibles and things preserved, there was a magazine. Kept for months. Read a thousand times. But for all the times that I’d read this particular issue, I hadn’t seen the article. In a national publication with 23 million subscribers, written by a best-selling novelist.
She wrote: “I don’t believe an online relationship is a relationship – not a real one.”
Not talking about dating or internet brides.
This writer did not believe online relationships are real.
While I agree whole-heartedly with Ms. Best-Selling author that real-life, real-time, in person relationships are utterly essential and life giving, I cannot agree that online friendships have no merit.
Three years ago, I might have told a different story. The extent of my online friendships revolved around dragons and elves, vast lands to develop, and conquering heroes. Yes. I’m a gamer. Please notice this remains in the present tense.
It was fun rallying around goals (bring down the Frost Giant – garner great reward!) and connecting on some level with the players. I got a recipe for midnight margaritas from a bartender in Virginia; got to be pretty decent friends with a nurse from Australia; and my husband and I still exchange birthday greetings with a grandfather of three from Wales.
But three years ago, I discovered the (in)courage community and this tribe of Five Minute Friday writers. That discovery was a game changer.
I’m not sure if I really believed that online friendships could hold the weight of those grown over cups of coffee and tea; shared times with families; and service together for a higher goal.
I’m not sure I could have been more wrong.
With the upsides of social media, I have grown and cultivated authentic, vibrant friendships with women writers across the country (and into other countries). We have laughed, talked, prayed, and served with one another over the weeks and months that begin to mark years. Thanks to handy apps like Voxer (or frankly, the phone), I know their voices and have called on them to share both joys and tears. Many of us participate in the growing project hash tagged fmfpartysnail mail – writing letters each week to post to new friends across the miles: encouraging, praying, and sharing.
These friends are in the inhale and exhale of my daily life. There is a mutual lifting up, a shared cheering as we cross various finish lines in our lives. There is the long-distance hug that feels nearly tangible when shadows fall. There is generosity of spirit. There is truth.
Is it even better if we get the opportunity to meet up at a conference or arrange a real life meet up where hours feel like seconds? Absolutely. There are several friends in my online community that I am counting on meeting someday soon. No matter what. But in the meantime, can we still relish friendship without our heads inclining toward each other over a table or without walking down a quiet path side-by-side? Absolutely.
My online friends are some of my most dear and treasured ones. I’ve been blessed to have them enter my life, and whether I meet them on this side of heaven or after; they will remain ever present in my heart and mind, and will always be counted among the ones I cherish.
How to Join
Want to know about how Five Minute Friday got started, and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!