Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy one-year anniversary to me!

Today is the first anniversary of my blog. I launched it one year ago on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers, not really knowing what would happen. I was more than a little intimidated by the notion of trying to come up with something interesting and spiritual and sometimes humorous on a daily basis. But what has happened in the past year on this blog has been nothing short of inspiring. Thank you to all of you who read this blog regularly, and thank you, too, to those of you who stop by on occasion or even by accident. I am grateful to all of you. Here is the Life Lines column I wrote about my blogging experience and how all of you have impacted me. Enjoy. And happy Feast of St. Francis de Sales. If you don't know much about him, learn more. He's one of my favorites.

Blogging My Way Down a Spiritual Path

It was just about one year ago that I decided to jump head first into the wonderful world of blogging, something that both excited and scared me since it meant being willing to delve into a much more deeply personal style of writing – and doing so on an almost-daily basis. Still, I was intrigued by the idea of “talking” about spiritual issues that I might otherwise keep to myself.

I launched my blog, “Not Strictly Spiritual,” on Jan. 24, the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, not only because St. Francis is the patron saint of writers but because the 17th-century bishop’s writings on spirituality and its inherent struggles remain remarkably relevant to those us stumbling along the spiritual path today. What has happened in the 12 months since has been inspiring, gratifying and immensely uplifting. In truth, the blog has been an unexpected blessing.

I have been so touched by my readers’ willingness to share their own faith stories and to talk openly about their struggles, their accomplishments and their moments of crisis. My community of blog regulars might be small, but they are mighty and devoted little band of followers. They constantly remind me that being willing and able to share the secrets of my soul is not only a great opportunity for evangelization but a great boon to my own spiritual transformation.

The posts on my blog that garner the most responses are those that focus on the toughest parts of living a Gospel-centered life. When I talk about my own difficulties, whether it’s trying to fit prayer into an overcrowded schedule or trying to live simply in the midst of plenty, my comment board and email inbox lights up with comments and confessions.

We’re all in the same proverbial boat it seems, trying to keep up with our family and professional responsibilities while working to incorporate the truths of our faith into our daily lives. It isn’t always easy; in fact, most of the time it’s near impossible, and yet we keep on keeping on. Before I began blogging, I often felt alone in that struggle, but now I feel surrounded by friends, seen and unseen, who are battling the same demons.

In a world where we are often far from family and cut off from daily interactions with friends, this virtual community can serve as touchstone, buoying us up when we are starting to list. Every once in a while when I start to wonder if I am just spewing my spiritual insecurities to no one in particular, a virtual version of talking to myself, I inevitably receive a comment or email telling me how something on the blog struck a chord or gave someone a feeling of peace. I can assure you that when I started this last year, I never imagined that I would be granted such access to other people’s spiritual thoughts and lives.

Some say that the negative side of the blogosphere is so damaging it outweighs the benefits. People don’t censor themselves. They can be brutality honest, sometimes cruelly so, with a veil of anonymity to protect them. And yet the very same thing that can make the blog world so harmful and mean is what can make it so wonderful and vibrant. It is precisely because of brutal honesty – the spiritual kind -- and complete anonymity that a community of believers is able to come together so powerfully out in the ether of the Internet. There, in a faceless crowd, a spiritual kinship is born, and we realize and revel in the fact that we are most certainly not alone.

Copyright 2009, Mary DeTurris Poust

5 comments:

Dennis said...

Happy Anniversary!

Bill said...

Happy Anniversary and Feast of St. Francis DeSales from one of the mighty and devoted band. And thank you -- the blog has entertained me, challenged me and helped me over the last year. Ad multos annos.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Happy Anniversary, Mary! I share your blogging anniversary month! I didn't realize we started on this journey at precisely the same time. I share so many of the feelings you expressed so eloquently here.
To another year of blogging and friendship from afar. :)
Roxane

Amy R. said...

Nice job Mary.....congrats to a long future of blogging......

A.L. said...

Something would be missing from my day if I did not get a chance to read your blog. Happy Anniversary.