In Real Life

January_2008_044Way back when the school year was still in the planning stages, Rebecca and I decided that we'd brainstorm together for "Tea and a Craft" ideas. We both agreed that we wanted the simplicity of a tea time and craft activity suitable to active boys and busy girls. And we both knew that Dawn's archives was a treasure trove of simple, yet meaningful afternoons throughout the liturgical year. So, we figured we'd start there and add and tweak as the year went along, bouncing ideas off each other and enjoying the synergy of friendship. We also knew that we wanted to add a good bit of beauty and, particularly, handicrafts, to our children's lives. So, those plans were "written in" as well (they were actually keyboarded and sent back and forth in endless emails and blogged a bit, too).
We've been sharing most of our learning plans, sending books back and forth between Virginia and Ohio for perusal, and chatting often on the phone. Rebecca's also been on an inspiring de-cluttering tear of late, and it's rubbed off a bit on me. With some other friends, we're talking about how to discern the  the best when you are surrounded by too much that is good, but not necessarily holy. And a dozen times a month or more, I'd have these planning conversations or clutter conversations or knitting conversations with Rebecca and I'd whine a little bit. "If only you were here, this would all be so much better!" And so, on a week that was destined to be gloomy (Michael went back to school and Mike left for the Super Bowl), God smiled on me and a minivan Gypsy Caravan pulled up at my house! We drank endless cups of tea and talked and talked and talked. Our children got to know one another. We sorted through my books and gathered bags and boxes of giveaways (aren't I the most gracious hostess?). We actually did one of those tea and craft ideas of Dawn's together! We made orange snowballs and had orange spiced tea in honor of Our Lady of Altagracia. All the children made pretty bookmarks with an orange theme and an image of Our Lady.In real life. Both of our families together in one place.
January_2008_045 And, wonder of wonder, Rebecca taught us to knit. I still don't know how to purl, but Mary Beth does and she has actually finished two washcloths since Rebecca's departure.
I am grateful for the internet. In the nine years since I've been online, I've met so many good people and learned so many good things. I am also painfully aware of the pitfalls of the internet. I know how limiting an online friendship can be and how necessary the human voice and--better yet--the human touch is for a true friendship of trust and understanding. Computers are such a gift and can be such a blessing for our families and the world of blogging and message boards can be a place of community and friendship. This is an unprecedented world, though, one where we tread a bit cautiously as we seek to understand the limitations and the pitfalls of relationships begun in cyberspace. I'm still new at this, but I think the key to true and deep friendships is that both parties are real. If blogs and emails are "the real deal" and phone calls and letters and packages reveal even more of the real person, then the in-real-life transition is not a surprise at all. Instead, it's a blessing and relief. At last, we are able to see and hear and touch all at the same time. And we can revel in the easy companionship of an in real life and forever friend.God bless Rebecca!