I’ve started this post three times and rejected each as pretentious and silly. I think you’ll read it anyway, because I trust that by now you know that I’ve got something a bit important to say, even if I can’t figure out how to get into it at first (and if you’re brand new, then HELLO! and don’t worry – you’ll get the hang of this soon enough!).
I was standing in the dark and cold, fumbling the lock on the shed with icy fingers as Orion stretched his arms overhead to catch the moon, and it struck me (because why not) that I really don’t CARE about statistics for this blog. Not really. I don’t know why it popped into my head, but all of a sudden, the memory of the Facebook page (“You’re nearly at 500 likes! Promote your page?”) and the 1500+ (really?) followers of this place and its updates, and the fact that I found bloggers in other places who were genuinely perturbed by the fact that they would ‘like’ another person’s blog page, and that person wouldn’t like theirs back, all blasted in through the doorways of my mind like thugs looking for a brawl.
I stopped fumbling with the key for a second, and mentally stood, facing down those rowdy chaps with a half-smile, because they have no purchase on me (most of the time – sometimes I forget and they begin to matter, but not usually – not when I’ve got my brain in straight), and no place in my world. They do NOT belong in my Blogosphere, and here’s why:
Because I was astonished recently to find that some stalwart followers/commenters/friends had only recently realised that they hadn’t ‘liked’ the facebook page. As though it mattered, when we spend long, wonderful moments in chats here in the comments, and send our thoughts whizzing back and forth through the wires. As though it mattered, when what we have here on this page, and spilling out across other blogs and through corners of the Blogosphere all joined together by the care in people’s hearts and their willingness to make connections, is SO good, and SO much better than any number.
As though numbers could ever, ever trump connection.
You, my community – my friends who come here and talk with me and share your thoughts and your feelings, and indulge my conversations at your blogs and on Facebook and Twitter – are my thankful. And you count* for SO much more than Ten.
Now that my Ten are out of the way so swiftly and effectively *runs and hides from Seven very vehement looking Guard Virgins (**)* I’m going to list TEN things of compassion that I’ve noticed in the Blogosphere this week (did you know that ‘compassion’ is a very handy TEN LETTER WORD? I didn’t, until I counted it on my fingers and smiled for delight, because it fits). Each letter is going to get its dancing boots on and share some of the things which made my heart smile, because each one let me know that the world is filled with GOOD AND WONDERFUL PEOPLE (particulary this hardwired corner of it) and that I am privileged to know many of them.
(Yes, this ties in with #1000Speak for Compassion, because it’s a damn good idea, and more people should do it, but also just because SEEING these things is such an inspiration)
C – Last Sunday I had a day of horrible, awful, no-good, very-bad brain. And I wrote about it, so that I could be affirmed in my failings. And not one person offered anything less than glorious, wonderful, amazing, mind-blowing acceptance and care and support and empathy, and it rescued a day when I was beyond the beyond. Now THAT’S community, and every single person who showed up and mattered, made a HUGE difference. You guys are seriously incredible.
O – My dear friend Crystal shared an intensely painful piece at Sisterwives. She was met with similar bucketloads of empathy and care and acceptance and affirmation, and honestly, the calibre of soul of the people in this part of the Blogosphere is absolutely breathtaking.
M – Jen had her surgery this week (she’s fine and recovering well) and in the run-up to the day, and as soon as she was out, well-wishes were POURING in from all sides, from people who care for her. Just being witness to that level of love and care was beautiful.
P – Chris got her cast off, and swapped it out for a heavier, clunkier, bionic leg covering. And again, words of love and care were showered over her, and she wrote most beautifully about how difficult it has been to be stuck waiting, but that the people who surround her as she waits have made a huge difference.
A – Beth got her fists out to take down the woman who dared to judge her and humiliate her while she was out running. She wrote about her experience and provided one of the most determined examples of self-compassion I’ve seen in a long time.
S – Helena recalled a poem which someone gave to her long ago, and on a day when she felt like throwing in the towel, she reached out, and people reached back and again, that connection; that care which happens when you realise that behind the words on the glowing screen is a living soul with real feelings, it filled the comments section and started redeeming the situation. People don’t realise how much comments matter, sometimes, I think, but they so, SO do. They can make or break a blogger, I’m quite sure.
S – Kristi wrote a beautiful, very difficult piece which attracted a bunch of really, vicious, nasty trolls. It was awful, and as soon as she said it, a group of bloggers came rushing to her defence, and waded into the fray with their boxing gloves on, and started hitting back – not because the trolls will necessarily ever read the responses, but to let all and sundry know that Kristi has the support and back-up of a group of people who are steadfast and will NOT sit back and let her be trashed without any kind of comeback. This made me feel very proud to know such wonderful people who are willing to step up and speak out in defence of their friend.
I – Kimberly wrote, too, because she was finding life hard (by which I mean to say, her depression was not allowing her to find life anything BUT hard), and again, the people who left pieces of their heart and their thoughts in the comments for her were ALL there to build her up and uplift her, and she is absolutely determined, in spite of a bad week, to KEEP GOING, and even had enough resources to come over and leave me a couple of delightful comments.
O – Gretchen shared a tender, heartbreakingly beautiful piece about her brother, who would still be alive if the world were in any way fair, and how she struggled through her wedding, ten days after losing him, because he would have wanted it. And how now, 15 years later, he is still an inspiration and a huge driving force for her to act towards others with compassion and empathy. And if you’ve ever met her or read her or had any kind of contact with the sweet soul that she is, you will KNOW that his influence is so precious, and so strong.
N – Every time I see something shared with the gorgeous ‘1000 Voices for Compassion‘ logo, or with the #1000Speak tag, it sends a small spark of joy through my heart because YOU CARE. Every share. Every retweet. Every write-up. Every example or thought or promotion for the group and what it’s trying to achieve, shows that there are over 1000 people all committed to getting ACTIVE about compassion and goodness and the *brightshinyglowy* side of life, and that they are going to make a HUGE difference on February 20th, and even after that! They are a force to be reckoned with, and each time they write, more connections are forged, and more people commit to adding their voice to the cry that together we’re stronger, and we WILL bring the Good.
*Yeah, ha. ha. count. I know!
**The Seven Guard Virgins protect the Book of Secret Rules (or Secret Book of Rules) which variously state that if you can’t make it to TEN, for whatever reason, if you dance for them, they will bestow the book upon you for a brief period of time, allowing you to find the rule (you have to tell us which) that will allow you a measure of grace and let you off one of your Ten Things.***
***Yes, we play silly games in this hop. And yes, we expect you to join in 😉