Without further ado, I present this anonymous post for your ponderance:
Way back when I started blogging, years ago, I sat perusing the vast blogosphere in search of inspiration and entertainment. I wrote in my blog only occasionally and only for the benefit of family and friends. My posts were chatty and filled with pictures of my family and I never considered what it might be like to join a community of anonymous bloggers and write in a style that might entertain or engage them without compromising too much of my anonymity.
But then I came across a blog, written by an anonymous stranger, that reached out and sucked me into her world. It was so well-written that I often sat reading it with tears streaming down my face --whether they be tears of laughter or sadness. I cared about this person. I worried about her. When she stopped posting, I feared that I might never know how her life turned out.
To be honest, I idolized her in a way. Her wit. Her writing talent. Her unique way of putting things into perspective.
Then one day I read a story from her childhood. It was written in that same beautiful, flowing style that I loved so much. I was carried along by her gentle and confiding tone but was left shattered at the end of the last paragraph.
This woman-- this warm, witty, beautiful, talented, engaging woman -- experienced horrors that I have never, and will never, have to face. Many of them she experienced very early in her life. Extremes of brutality and indifference shaped her personality.
Much of her wit was formed out of a desperate desire to alleviate anger with a well-placed quip. If she could make the grown-ups who surrounded her laugh, she could often avoid fanning the smoldering flames of their tempers. Her gentle, nurturing nature developed when she tried to shield her siblings from treatment similar to hers. Her habit of shying from praise was a result of her learning to be invisible to avoid notice and thus avoid being belittled or beaten.
To me, it seemed an unacceptable trade-off. That her stunning, magnetic personality was a result of having the stuffing beat out of her by Life--it wasn't fair. I ranted and railed against God, against Life, against societal pressure for people to marry and bear children whether they're narcissistic hedonists or not.
And the gentle writer grieved that she had brought pain into my life. Because her heart is so beautiful, she worried about me. She lived through these horrors. I only had to read about them. And she worried about me.
She said, "God lets things happen for a reason. These things happened so that I could learn and grow and be kind and help others." I refused to believe that the God I love, a gentle and caring God, would let anyone suffer such atrocities for the sake of personal growth. So I said, "That's bullshit!" (I am nothing, if not eloquent.)
And she stood back and waited for me to finish the process of sifting through the information she'd given me and the resultant anger and sadness and heavy grief that set up shop in my chest.
And now, I still hate it that she's ever suffered. But I am able to appreciate that I have a beautiful person in my life. I am able, once again, to appreciate her writing and the depths she can take me to with it. I am able to appreciate her. Period.
Sometimes, though, I am still caught by surprise by the strength of my reactions to the reality of what her life has been. Last night, I sat up late, unable to sleep, and read through the archives of a blogger who's new to me. I was turned on to this new person's blog by a mutual friend and have immersed myself in her archives for the same reason I was drawn years ago to the aforementioned writer. This new writer is witty, engaging, enormously talented and pulls me along with her through depths of despair and back again only to make me laugh until I think I might pee.
I made my way through her archives, hoping all the while that I wouldn't find what I suspected would be buried there. But I found it anyway. Tales of neglect and abuse and emotional agony inflicted on her by the very people who should have been her fiercest protectors. The fact that I had suspected as much all along certainly did not make me feel victorious. Rather, I felt beat up. I was surprised to find that my breathing was ragged, my jaw clenched, angry tears welling in my eyes.
So, this is how it is. Those among us who have this phenomenal power to pull us into their lives and to find their way into our hearts, effortlessly --it's almost always because we sense the wells of pain inside of them. We sense it, even when they are causing side-splitting laughter with their self-deprecating humor or bringing us to our knees with sadness with their uncanny powers of observation and communication.
We sense it and we try to pull them to us. We try to protect them and make it so that the bad things never happened. And because they are wise, and patient, and gentle, they step back and allow us to explore these extremes of emotion that we might never have felt had we not encountered the stories they have shared. They don't remind us that it was harder for them to live it than it was for us to read about it.
As for me, I'm so thankful to have chanced across these remarkable women in the blogosphere. No matter how limited their involvement in my "real" life, they have made an impact. I am kinder, more empathic, more gentle, and more generous because of the impressions they've made upon my heart.
But from time to time, like last night, I am still going to cry at the injustice of it all. I am still going to have moments when I question God and accuse Him of neglect and abuse for allowing such atrocities to befall the most innocent and vulnerable among us.
I stand up for them now, when I can. It doesn't help much. But the point is that I want to help and that I care and that my eyes are opened to the knowledge that not everyone gets to have the sort of life that was given to me.
If knowing the stories of these women can affect change in one person and if I can help even one child, maybe God really did know what He was doing.
Whether I like it or not.