Thursday, January 29, 2009

a letter to anyone who cares

Hello Friends,

I've received many emails and comments asking how I am and letting me know that you miss this blog. I appreciate that so much. I thought I would try to update you all, and let you know what I'm thinking. Hopefully, as I write this, my thoughts will be more clear to me as well.

First of all, I want to acknowledge how amazing it has been to get to know so many of you. I think that I began this blog as a way to discipline myself to write and organize my thoughts, and the relationships that developed completely surprised me. I always was a little mystified by people who seemed to have meaningful internet relationships. I guess I was kind of skeptical that such a thing was even possible. I stand corrected.

Related to the relationships I've developed, I also have loved reading all of your blogs. You may think that I haven't been reading any of your thoughts since I fell silent, but that's just not true. I haven't been vocally present, but I have continued to stop by regularly, and I continue to be blown away by what you have to say. It has shaped me in ways that I don't think I can even fully appreciate myself. When I think about the direction my life has taken, I realize that I owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.

Another really valuable thing that came out of this blog was that it provided an outlet for some of the things that were floating around in my brain. I learned a lot about myself. I don't think I can adequately express how important that has been for me. I've written more in the last year than I have for probably the last ten years. I'm so grateful for that.

So, why have I stopped writing here?

Partially, the answer is that I don't really know. Have you ever just known that you had to do something (or not do something) but you couldn't really articulate the reason? There's a significant slice of this whole thing that I don't quite understand...I just know.

But there are some pieces of this that I think I understand pretty well.

First of all, I think I was a little too attached to the attention I got from this blog. I would post a blog, and the next several days would be an obsessive stake-out at my computer waiting for comments. I felt a little like I was in junior high waiting for a call from a boy. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I'm hoping some of you are out there nodding your head in recognition. Anyway, this was just not good for me.

Another negative thing that developed for me is that I felt more and more pressure to maintain all of the virtual relationships, to the point where I noticed that it was interfering with my ability to really be present to the people around me. I was always a little distracted and anxious. It was taking more and more of my time and attention. This is not anyone's fault, and it's not anything that anyone was demanding of me. It's just a personal vulnerability in me. (I tend not to notice my limits until I've crossed them...or obliterated them.)

I guess the last thing I'll mention is that I was feeling a very strong need to organize my life in radically different ways. I was feeling a need for much more space and quiet. I needed to find ways to descend into my inner life and really listen with patience to what God seemed to be up to. I needed to attend to the structure of my days and nights and notice what that structure was letting in and what it was keeping out. I'm still very much in process with this. It's been very, very good. And it's given birth to all kinds of challenges and possibilities.

There's more to this, but I can't possibly make all of it understandable here. There have been health issues and enormous family shifts and changes in my job and my significant relationships, all difficult to put into categories of "good" or "bad", so I'm resisting the urge to characterize things that way. It's life. It's what is here in this moment right in front of me. I'm trying to show up for it in ways that move me forward.

I hope that helps anyone out there who is wondering about what happened here or who is worrying about me. I'm still here. Thank you for caring.