Monday, August 8, 2011


If I've told this story already, please let me know. I've told it verbally to a good many people, but I don't believe I've written the story on my blog. On my trip to England, I flew into Manchester Airport, and, since I was going to London for the first leg of my trip, I had to take the train south. When I purchased my ticket, the agent told me I'd have to take the train to Newcastle first. I said, "To Newcastle?!" and the agent said yes. All right, then.

I caught the train for Newcastle and sat next to two English ladies from Chester le Street, and we began to talk. I told them I didn't understand why I had to go north to Newcastle, in order to get south to London. They looked at the slip of paper that came with my ticket, and one woman said, 'Oh no! You get off this train at the next stop, at the Manchester Piccadilly Station, and then catch a train to London.' I thanked them profusely for saving me a long, out-of-the-way ride, because I would have stayed on the train all the way to Newcastle.

They knew from my accent that I was from the US, and they asked me where I was going in England. I said London first, then the West Country, then up North to Leeds and Newcastle. And one woman said, 'All alone?' I said no, that I had friends all over England. And she said, 'How did you come to meet so many English friends?'

Long pause. Finally, in a weak voice, I said, 'I met them online.' Their eyes grew wide, and I could see the wheels turning. 'Is this old woman madly active in online dating services?' I started to explain about blogs and blog communities, and then it was time for me to get off the train. They helped me with my luggage, and they were gone before I had time to give them a fuller explanation. Even if I'd had time to say more, I wonder if the ladies would have understood.

I marvel myself at all the wonderful people I've met through the blog community, and I have no doubt that we are a community, because we care about one another and for one another. We pray for each other, laugh together, cry together, mourn together, and rejoice together. Although in my offline life, I have many relationships and much to occupy me, I would not, for the world, have missed my connections with you, my blog community. You have been a grace and a blessing to me. You have enriched my life in ways far beyond what you will ever know or realize. I thank God for you, and I thank you for coming into my life.


JCF said...

Aw, {{{Mimi}}}

You have (other) friends in Northern California, too! ;-)

whiteycat said...

Amen, Mimi! And we feel exactly the same about you!

Grandmère Mimi said...

(((JCF))), I know.

whiteycat, thank you. Tears came to my eyes when I reread my own post, because what I've said is so true.

it's margaret said...

And we love you too, Grandmere. Very much!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

I was thinking just this morning (when reading the food-gala-tour of yours) how over these years we´ve all sort of regrouped/retrenched in various ways after being passionate Episcopalians/Anglicans over at Jake´s, ¨Stop the World¨ place (and other progressive hot spots too) we´ve all made ¨impressions¨ on one another, and you dear Mimi and your Bird Woundedness, are certainly glowing reminders of who we were, where we have been and how we are right this minute and where we may be going (let´s hope for the best).

Dear Goran comes to mind tonight...think I´ll light a candle in front of my San Miguel (the Archangel)painting at the end of the corridor downstairs...Goran will like that.


Cathy said...

Awwwww ... thanks Mimi - I feel you've given me far more than I could ever give you in person and with your blog, and I'll bet there are others who feel the same.

Cathy said...

It is interestin' how it has often been said that the internet and social networking has given rise to "shallow" online relationships that are not really "real", that are taking people's attention away from their "real" relationships and lives, but that's not true.

Ciss B said...

You are open to friendship and people, Mimi. That's why the friends online are REAL friends! Bless you!

Grandmère Mimi said...

margaret, thanks.

Leonardo, some of us go way back, don't we?

Cathy, I don't know who gives or receives more. I'd guess it's not ours to measure, and I don't think blogs take away from real-life relationships.

As our family has grown, and we've grown older, our social life has narrowed, because our family interactions seem like as much socializing as we can handle at our age. But I don't see that online relationships have affected our relations with our family and friends who are nearby.

Ciss B, thanks.

James said...

Chere Mimi, I must disagree with you.

We aren't a community: we are a family. I feel closer to many of the people I've met though Fr. Jake than I do to biological siblings.

We hurt for each other, we weep, rejoice, celebrate with each other. We will take on the world for each other. And we invite all to join us our family.

I reflect on IT quite a bit. She came to our family as an Atheist. Though us she saw another side of those who call themselves followers of Christ. She found a community for herself and BP because of us. And she has taught us so much.

Family is simply the tribe wherein we feel most welcomed, secure, and loved. That's what keeps us together in this blog world. Family ties.

IT said...

James, you are too kind.

I was emailing with Mimi about this. The community we have established isn't an "online" community at all. It really is something unusual, something special.

what made that happen, I wonder? Was it when the meetups started, and parts of the crowd started to connect in real life? If so, it washed over those who weren't able to meet and connected us all.

Now we are so far from "online community"and "internet friends" that those terms are almost meaningless as a descriptor.

Paul said...

I know who has my back. Most of them are my online friends, though some are close by.

I have had the joy to meet some of y'all but most I only know online, yet you are such a part of my life and I learn so much and am encouraged so much, and yes we weep and laugh together. I cherish this phenomenon. And now I will send this before I get too misty.

And dear IT, you are the unseen "face" of atheism for me. I don't recall having a problem with atheists but the word has a very nice ring in my mind because of you.

Jim said...

"Community" is what happens when people are open and caring regardless of where. It is possible globally, locally and yes online.


suzanne said...

You have enriched our lives with your wit, and wisdom. It has been my good fortune to have you in my cyberspace life and on the phone.

Many Blessings to you Mimi!!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Every time I open the comments to this post and read what's new here, I tear up.

James, extended family is an excellent descriptive.

IT, what we have is special. I wonder if other groups have similar experiences. I'd say probably so, but I'm not sure. Whatever it is that came together for us is wonderful to be a part of.

Paul, I love meeting folks face to face, but, to me, those with whom I've formed relationships only online are no less a part of the family than the people I've met.

Jim, that we are, in our best selves, open and caring, is an essential ingredient of our mix.

suzanne, thank you. All of you have enriched my life immensely.

Erika Baker said...

So often in life, we make close friends who then move away and the friendship continue via email etc. We're all just a good example that it works the other way round too.

I am still amazed and delighted at this incredible community and so very grateful for my own place in it.
I rejoice at all the people I have met and I am still frequently upset that I wasn't in the end able to meet IT as planned.

Because we share so many deep thoughts, so much more than you do with your average day to day friend, the friendship go particularly deep, and so far, I haven't ever met any of you in real life and found that I didn't like them after all or that we had nothing to say to each other.

I feel so blessed!

Cathy said...

Wot Erika said, absolutely, and again.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Erika, yes, yes, and yes!

susankay said...

When my first dog ever (and I am 67), Molly the WonderDog died this last spring, this community was where I came for comfort -- as it was where I had come for prayers all the times she was gravely ill in the years before. That's not shallow -- or, if it is -- I vote for shallow.

IT said...

Erika, I will be in London for a conference in summer 2013. Possibly with BP in tow. We may meet yet....

Erika Baker said...

IT, that would be SO good! I look forward to it!

Cathy said...

It would be lovely to catch up with you again, IT, if possible, when you visit in 2013, and to meet BP :)