Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Thursday, February 09, 2012

One million

When I was a kid, there was a MacDonald's not too far from where I lived. It was considered a HUGE treat to go there because....well, I don't know....probably because we heard the commercials on the radio and saw them on television and, oh my gosh, we actually got to go and eat at a place that must be famous because....well, I don't know....probably because we were there at the very place we heard commercials about on the radio and TV.

I remember when the sign under the distinctive golden arches read "One Million Served". My siblings and I were inexplicably excited and overcome with squeals of delight in the back seat of the De Soto car my father drove as we passed by the restaurant. We - WE - had been among those millions served a greasy hamburger with melted cheese on a sesame bun along with french fries drenched in ketchup that I still think are the best anywhere.

Somehow, that made us feel...oh, I don't know..."special" in a way. I guess because it meant that we had achieved a modicum of affluence to actually eat in a place where others had also been able to afford to eat.

We lived a very modest life and going out to eat - even at MacDonald's - was a treat almost akin to getting a good report card and being treated to a hot fudge Sundae at the local ice cream parlor.

I haven't noticed a MacDonald's sign in a long while - the golden arches are now part of the landscape of Americana, so who notices, anymore - but I believe that last time I saw one, it read, "Billions and Billions Served".

I say all this because, just last night, I noticed that my site meter reported that, as of July 29, when I installed the thing, I have had over 1 Million "hits" to my blog.

Over. One. Million.

In a little less than six years.

I'm astounded.

And, profoundly humbled and grateful that so many of you actually read what I have to say about everything from all things Anglican/Episcopalian, to religion in general and politics in particular, to gushing about my children and grandchildren, to reflecting on my life on the water, to sharing recipes to ranting about something or other in the news.

Beyond the obvious narcissism of blogging - I mean, it IS narcissistic to think that what I have to say about what I think might be of even passing interest to others - I blog what I write because it has become a spiritual discipline of sorts.

The habit of writing is for me what daily exercise is for others. It's part of what I do to sort out and make sense of what's happening in the world around me.

It's a form of prayer that keeps me centered and focused. I write about it, and then I can let it go. Or, channel my passion or my anger into some form of action - even if it's just keeping folks informed about an issue and urging them to take action.

When I started this blog a little less than six years ago, I naively thought I was doing so as a way to keep my congregation informed about General Convention.  Three years earlier, I had written daily emails to my Wardens who then shared them with others. My Parish Administrator at the time suggested that I set up a blog so that everyone could read it more quickly and we wouldn't have to Xerox everything.

He neglected to tell me that, unless you make sure the settings are such that only those who are invited to your blog are the only ones who read it, the whole world can tune in.

Imagine my surprise - and, no small amount of horror - when I began getting comments from people I had never met. And, not only in this country, but around the world.

Apparently, many people were very interested in what The Episcopal Church was doing at that General Convention. That's when I learned about "Google". Type in a few words, press 'search' and voila!

I'm embarrassed to admit my ignorance and naivete but that's the Gospel truth of it.

Now, Google has - as so many things do these day - transformed from a noun to a verb. I, like so many others, google several times a day. What would I do without it?

When I returned home from General Convention, I learned about a site meter and, curious as to how many people actually read this blog (since not everyone leaves a comment, thanks be to God), I check into it from time to time.

I've not always done well with blogging.  Mistakes have been made. I've written things I later regretted writing. I've actually pulled down a few posts after writing them. And, I don't post half the things I write - like my poetry - because they are too personal to send out into the blogosphere. 

More than the number of people who read this blog,  I'm astounded by the spiritual hunger that is out there in the world. I think some people read my posts because they are struggling with many of the same issues I struggle with and they are hungry, not so much for answers, but for a little companionship in the struggle.

Sometimes, I think blogs are the MacDonald's of literary form. They are fast food for those on the go. You can drive through a pick up a Mac Nugget of theology or a Big Mac of politics with special sauce of Anglicanism.

Little Miss Tiara
It's not anywhere as substantive as, say a Filet Mignon of Hemmingway or a Shakespearean Lobster bound between two fine, rich, leather covers, but it is, I think, it's own form of artistic expression.

So, here's to you, whoever you are, who come and sit by my fire and listen to my stories and rants and other ruminations of my heart and soul about life in general and my passions in particular.

Thank you for your companionship and your comments. Thank you for your loyalty and your love.

I've made some wonderful friendships over the past six years, some of which have been "consummated" over a meal and others which await an actual incarnational, embodied visit.

Despite the occasional hate-filled, nasty comment (which I've learned to 'moderate' so only I have to read them and you don't) I've learned that mostly, a stranger is just a friend I haven't yet met.

For all the successes and failures, for all the friends I've made, for the profound privilege of being a vehicle of the Holy Spirit, and for the love of God I've known incarnate in Christ Jesus, I give thanks and praise.

I have been truly blessed "billions and billions" of times 


suzanne said...

I watched your site meter change before my very eyes. I had never noticed that before. Not the site meter, but to have it change.

Being a blog reader and a friend on FB earned me a huge hug in a small restaurant in Lewes one cloudy day. It was as if i'd known you forever.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are one of the incarnational friends I cherish.

Susan said...

You are on my daily read. I love your stories and your insights. You may not have a physical church flock right now, but you have a virtual one!

Paul said...

While you were mentioning MacDonalds, I suddenly remembered an old song in which someone was talking about a fantasy of being rich. He would "buy a million hamburgers and watch them change the sign". Silly old song, brought a smile to my face.

Seriously, thank you for this blog. Your posts have been getting better and better over time. I enjoy reading your stuff. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts, your leadership, your thoughts, your passion, Elizabeth. You put a voice to many of my own thoughts.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, Paul. And, thank you, Maria.