Her Beans and My Heart ♥
Last month, I participated in that American Institution known as “Thanksgiving Day”. For the past couple of years I had attended a potluck dinner, and was assigned to bring vegetables. Although green beans are traditional for this meal, I wanted something different, and consulted my favorite food blogger, whom I’d known for about a year at the time. “Sesame Green Beans” were the result of this consultation, and were the hit of the party two years running.
This year, through a series of events, I was called upon to provide the entire Thanksgiving meal, although for a smaller number of people. I again cooked the green beans, but this year, it was a different experience. The beans were excellent, as always, but I was not able to report that fact to the dear friend who had provided the recipe.
You see, I only knew her through her blog, and through the many emails we’d exchanged over the three years we knew each other. Last year, soon after I reported my latest bean success; I read what was apparently to be her last blog post. She wished her readers a happy Christmas, declared she’d be back in the new year…and was not heard from again.
Most of you know that bloggers come and go. It is a strange medium in some ways; if a person wishes to be anonymous, s/he can usually do so. Casual, hobbiest bloggers don’t owe anyone a thing. They can start to write, gather a following, and decide to stop at any time.
What has amazed me about a couple of the social media outlets I’ve been involved with, is that, over the course of spewing my thoughts, I have made genuine, lasting friendships. I counted this food-blogger among them. She wrote about more than food, but that was her passion, on this particular blog. I’m not much of a cook; never was, but she was easy to talk to about all sorts of things. She was kind to me; commenting on my blog often, and sending me emails when she came across something she knew I’d like.
We started to share more about personal situations. She was a very private person, as am I, so I was honored by her trust.
She doesn’t owe me anything; never did…but…it seems odd to me that after three years of several-times-a month communication, it would cease—for me, and with all who knew her from her blog.
Perhaps she thought she would come back, and somehow, didn’t have the heart for it. Perhaps she didn’t want to write a “goodbye” post, because she felt she’d come back in a bit, and then what would she say?
Some of us who were her friends thought she might have become too ill to post, and we tried to find out more. It appears she is still with us, from the latest reports.
Somewhere along the way, however, I’ve realized that I have been guilty of some of the same behaviors of which I accuse my food-friend. I have not updated my blog very often lately. I’m not entirely sure why, although I have a few good ideas. I tell myself it’s something I can do “tomorrow”, and we all know there is no tomorrow.
I tell myself that I at least answer emails from concerned friends, unlike food-friend who has not. But I haven’t even done that as quickly as I’d like to these days. And there are non-blog friends, and even family members who have not heard from me as much lately.
I’ve gotten some lovely messages from blog friends wondering where I have been! I am humbled; I’m chagrined. A couple inquiries I’ve gotten truly have made me realize how much I was preoccupied with my own issues.
One was from a someone whose mother recently passed away. He is young to lose a parent. And yet, in the midst of his grieving, he took the time to inquire how I was, as I had not been on this blog for a while. It shames me to know this, not in a self-deprecating way, but in a self-involved kind of way.
To hep me plead my case, I will say that I’ve spent some time helping a dear friend who has been ill, and attempting to mend fences with family members, particularly one who may not be long for this world. But it doesn’t compensate for neglecting to notice what others have been dealing with. It doesn’t excuse lack of compassion.
I am hard on myself, as we often are. Noticing is an education. Taking action on what one notices becomes the harvest of our being. I am reminded that whenever I am feeling judgemental about someone’s actions, I’d best look within to see if there is some version of those things operating in my experience, and then, with great understanding, forgive us both!
To all those, blogging or not, who have touched my life, I thank you for being my life tutors. Blessings be.