Over the years I have made many friends online. Some I have never stood side by side with, and others I have had the great joy of meeting in person. For some time I had a hard time calling these people “friends”. After all, what if they were not what they said there were? How could I be sure I am getting to know their real self? Couldn’t they only show the parts of themselves that they wanted me to see? Yes, all of that could be true. People can write and share only what they want you to read. However, I have found that it can also be true with friends I see on a daily basis. If fact, I believe we all have friends “in real life” that only reveal parts of themselves. They are all smiles while you are speaking with them, but inside they are crying and feel incredibly alone. After all, the only thing braver than loving someone is allowing yourself to be known and to be loved.
One big difference between getting to know someone in person and when you get to know people online, or over any type of correspondence, you usually write when there is something important to say. You don’t need to see each other each day or week and talk about the weather. The times that you do talk to each other is when you need to vent about a hurt, or share about something exciting, or to ask for someone to hope along side of you. There are women I talk to everyday that live on the other side of the country and even in other countries. They share the deepest places of their hearts and provide a safe place for me to do the same. They encourage me to realize my dreams and chase after them. They remind me that where ever you live, life can be cruel…. but the love of others seems to soften its blow. So, I have stopped putting air quotes around the friends that I have not yet meet in person. They are truly my dear friends and my love for them is real, deep, and powerful. They have helped me become more myself and I am thankful for that.
And while I believe all this to be true, my soul still longs to hug their necks one day. Because while sending emails and writing notes back and forth is good, there is nothing like sitting face to face with a person you feel like you have known forever.
I am doing this blog roll with some amazing women. Read Susan’s thoughts on friendship, then roll on through to the rest.