Stormy seas and leaky lifeboats

I am, fortunately, many miles away from the states affected by Hurricane Irene’s angry path this weekend, but that geographical blessing didn’t stop me from riding my own waves of stress and emotion. I’m feeling kind of beached right now and like any self-respecting exhausted whale, I thought I should share.

Two years ago I probably hadn’t even heard of Twitter and I rarely visited Facebook. Fast forward to this week and I’m wringing my hands and losing sleep over people I’ve never met, yet care about in ways I can’t adequately explain. The Internet has created a universal connectedness that has become a blessing and a curse.

Two years ago I would have watched the news with concerned detachment, grateful for the lack of extreme weather in my neck of the woods. Today, my thumbs were poised over my magic phone, waiting for news of everyone’s safe travels through the eye of the storm. The feelings of worry and helplessness made more acute when one friend lost her house, while another couldn’t find out if her horses were okay.

In the twitterverse we call the people we have lunch with, work with, hang out with – RL (real life) friends – but it’s ridiculous to relegate the people I know in Virginia, Maryland and New York that I’ve come to love, as ‘not real.’ The anxiety I felt for them this weekend was all too tangible.

And then a storm of emotions hit closer to home.

My rare venture into Facebook territory last week told me a friend would be delivering the sermon at her church on Sunday. I awoke yesterday morning exhausted from my annual, virtually non-profit garage sale, but determined to go see her. I met this friend years ago as we both worked to build fledgling businesses while navigating the seas of motherhood. (I only have one kid; she has four. I’ll shut up now.)

A couple of years later she informs me of her grim Stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis and I’m wondering what the hell is wrong with this picture. Fast forward again, three years later, to this Sunday morning and I was riveted to her eloquent words on fear and love.

I already knew she was an amazing writer and genuinely kick-ass human being, but her ability to make the bible real and accessible to a cranky bitch like me was a gift.

My heart swelled for her.

Before I could rest in the calm waters of my friend’s health and wisdom, I had another visit to make. I dropped in at a nearby business to celebrate the owner’s retirement. This woman not only helped inspire my art gallery adventures six years ago, but her influence on my town is inestimable.

As I offered my warm thanks and congratulations it became painfully clear she didn’t recognize me. The reason for her retirement was evident.

My heart broke for her.

Whether it’s Mother Nature’s wrath or some senseless disease, we all know how unfair life can be. I don’t have enough room for the clichés and you’d probably think of ten more anyway. But life is also pretty wonderful. So I’m going to swim in this glass of wine and feel particularly grateful for my blessings – health, family, safety and more.

They’re so easy to take for granted. Let’s all make a pact not to let that happen, okay?

12 thoughts on “Stormy seas and leaky lifeboats

  1. So true, my friend, so very true. Great post. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little issues that we really lose sight of the blessings. It often take a catastrophe to rein us back in.

  2. I am forever grateful for this world opening thing called Twitter. I can’t believe I have friends all across this globe now. The news hits close to home almost every day but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. The friendships I have far outweigh the worry I feel. The connections I have made are real and have led me to be the best version of myself that I have ever been able to express.

    Thank you for being such a good friend and for caring for all of us.

  3. So many horrible, awful things have happened this year – Irene being the latest and one of the loudest – and, for me, the silver lining of 2011 is that the bad has forced me to stop taking so much for granted, which is only good. I am as lucky as you are to have found such a profound friendship with so many women across the globe – some of whom I may never meet face-to-face – and I wouldn’t trade that for anything at all. I am so grateful that everyone ended up okay and we can all breathe for a second.

    You are a wonderful friend, and I’m thankful to have you in my life. I’m sure your support and love means the world to those who were effected by the storm, as well.

  4. You’ve summed up so well what I feel many days – that connectedness that is very real, even though I may not have laid eyes on that person, in person. And I agree – this new multifacted connectedness is a blesing and a curse, though mostly a blessing. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t have more time to pour over my twitter feed as I feel I might get lost in everyone’s ups and downs. But I sure am grateful it’s there and that this community exists. Glad you shared about your friend’s sermon. It’s a great gift when the spirit in someone can express itself in a way we connect with. I’m always looking for more of that. And sometimes I’m not looking, and there it is. Just like the surprise of connecting with you. Thanks for sharing what’s on your heart with the rest of us. I’m grateful.

    • This past week has really had me contemplating the drastic shift in our world due to social media. It’s crazy and weird and wonderful. Thanks for sharing too:)

  5. So many times we pray to God to ask for things but how often do we thank Him for the big and little things in our life that make it all worth living? Family and friends are at the top of the list of things for which we should be thankful. While I don’t Twitter or Tweet I think that technology has opened many doors for us that are truly a blessing. The addition of friends through technology is definitely one of them. Your empathy for others and gratitude for your own blessings shines through in this post.

Whatcha think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s