The following, my "O" post in the A to Z Blogger Challenge, summarized my feelings about the event pretty completely, so I decided to use it in the Reflections Posting. Ever so grateful for the experience, I simply can't wait till next year! Thanks to all for reading my writings. Here goes:
Never was there a greater devotee of the show Lost than my son, who lived and breathed little else in the years that it filled our TV screen. While it was much too intense for me, I couldn’t help but absorb some of the drama as I walked through the living room on occasion while he was watching. Much of the show’s plot concerned the crash survivors’ interactions with The Others, as the inhabitants of the island they landed on were referred to en masse. In the early years of the story they were largely an unknown quantity, faceless and nameless, hovering in the background unseen.
In my few years of blogging experience, the blogging community as a whole has been to me the same. I knew The Others were out there…somewhere…but I had little interaction with them as I went on with my writing and posting. I didn’t even know really where to find them, apart from an occasional mention of a site or one that I happened to land on purely by accident as a result of a Google search. I didn‘t bother them, and they surely didn‘t bother to visit me. My blogs survived, but they clearly didn’t thrive.
Along came the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I took it on, again for purely personal reasons. But as I signed up I did so with the intention of participating fully, soon realizing that dropping in on other blogs and meeting their creators was at least as big a part of the idea as posting my own alphabetized thoughts. As the list of registrants grew in the month before the challenge officially began, my excitement did as well, as one name after another intrigued me and pulled me in for a few moments of joyful exploration and discovery.
Two weeks into the Challenge, my blogging experience has changed dramatically. The posts on my own blogs are no longer my sole focus, but amazingly just the dues I pay for access to the names on the list and the privilege of reading their thoughts and offering my own in response. The joy of striking a chord of common interest with someone new or having the opportunity to encourage someone who’s struggling with an issue I’ve already been through causes me to realize just how much I’ve missed.
Too many of us live life the way I previously operated my blog. We travel with our eyes solely on our own interests and purposes, rarely giving thought to the others walking beside us unless we happen to bump into them unexpectedly or unavoidably. Our life experiences change dramatically when we realize we were born with the greater purpose of helping and encouraging those around us to achieve their personal destinies.
No man is an island, no matter how firmly he believes himself to be. The Others in my blogging experience now are beginning to have names and faces, personalities and passions that I’m discovering with joy as I now deliberately seek them out and develop relationships with them. They in turn are rescuing me from the solitary existence of my own little blogging world.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
(Philippians 2:4 NIV)
(Philippians 2:4 NIV)