In casual conversation, I am likely to mention treatment options for Kate, Bowen, or Jessie, or how the Stone family is doing these days. What you won’t know, however, is that I don’t actually KNOW these people, at least in the traditional sense. You see, I follow blogs…lots of them.
Most of my favorite blogs were created in times of tragedy or in response to a medical crisis. I often have to steel myself to click the links, as these posts certainly aren’t mindless reads. My heart seizes at the news of an agonizing decision to be made and I regularly shed tears over the unfathomable experiences of these families. They are desperately reaching out for help and support, and I find myself magnetically drawn to them.
Some find my hobby a bit morbid and wonder why I torture myself by actively taking on the pain and grief of strangers. While the subject matter is indeed difficult, the rewards are many. First, however, I have to get past being a selfish human. Just like many children create imaginary friends who have problems – fear of the dark, aggression, etc. – as a safe way to talk about newfound issues, I think reading about the sad and tragic side of life helps me process emotions about my own worst fears. However, in acknowledging the really hard realities of life, I sometimes develop the “I’m glad it’s them and not me” syndrome. I have to squelch those thoughts so that I can focus on the people and their needs, and not just the fears their stories evoke.
As a result, I can attest to the tremendous beauty and inspiration that often rises from the ashes of tragedy and helplessness. I am refreshed by the way in which I can touch and be touched by people’s hearts across so much distance. The written word is incredibly honest, heartfelt, and the authors are completely transparent. In a world where the truth is often buried beneath layers of you know what, reading something so raw and heartfelt is meaningful.
When I stop the whirlwind of life to catch up on these families, I feel a renewed sense of faith in humanity. I admire the strength that resonates from their words and I deeply hope that I would have equal fortitude in their shoes. As strong as they are, they are also at their most vulnerable, and this allows them to put on paper the thoughts that most people could never speak. I think this is a strong connection point for me personally given that I’ve always been better at expressing myself in writing than in face-to-face conversations.
Part of that ability is simply dissociating from what the world expects me to be or say, and simply writing what I feel without the risk of immediate and sometimes awkward reactions. I love real, but being entirely real is usually the exception and not the rule.
Finally, in addition to the gift of inspiration I receive from these blogs, they also provide me the opportunity to give back in a profound way. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t heal the sick. I’m not a millionaire, so I can’t offer riches to fund medical treatments. However, as a woman of faith, I can add my voice to those interceding on behalf of precious families who need guidance, hope, and strength beyond what they can muster on their own. I believe firmly in the power of prayer and that giving away my heart and prayers, whether to close friends or virtual strangers, simply expands my capacity to do so over and over again.
It’s only fitting that I include information on a few of my favorite blogs, and I encourage you to post a comment with additional links. There’s nothing like a shared bowl of chicken soup to warm us all up!
http://renziandleeannestone.blogspot.com/ – Oklahoma City couple Lee Anne and Renzi Stone lost their almost one year old son to a sudden epileptic seizure. They honor little Isaiah by sharing their daily challenges and joys.
http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com/ – Angie is the wife of Selah singer Todd Smith. While expecting, Todd and Angie were told their daughter had many life threatening conditions and would not survive outside the womb. Her book, “I Will Carry You,” details their experience and utter reliance on God to make it through to the other side.
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate – Kate McRae is a six-year-old Arizona girl living with a very rare form of brain cancer. Her mother writes regularly about treatment options, highs and lows, and specific prayer requests.
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JessicaBoone – Oklahoma teenager Jessie Boone suffered massive head trauma during a ski accident last year. Her mother chronicles the numerous touch-and-go moments, months in hospitals and Jessie’s current journey.
http://www.kellyskornerblog.com/ – Kelly is an Arkansas gal who began writing when doctors said her newborn wasn’t expected to live. After a difficult beginning, she now has a healthy and happy daughter and another on the way. Having also suffered infertility for many years, she is an inspiration to those women desperately hoping for a baby.
http://bowensheart.com/ – Matt Hammett is the lead singer of the Christian band Sanctus Real. Their son, Bowen, has a severely underdeveloped heart. They are journaling their experience and sharing the love of God through their words and stories.