Sunday, July 13, 2008

Losing Something

"Because our stories make us vulnerable to be being fixed, exploited, dismissed, or ignored, we have learned to tell them guardedly or not at all. Neighbours, coworkers, and even family members can live side by side for years without learning much about each other's lives. As a result, we lose something of great value, for the more we know about another person's story, the harder it is to hate or harm that person.
~Parker J. Palmer in A Hidden Wholeness

I'm sitting here this morning wondering if the truth of the above quote sums up why I blog anonymously. Why many of you know more about my journey, about who I am at my core, than the person who sits next to me at church.


dirtydishes said...

I think it all comes down to trust, and right now I certainly need to be anonymous, because the ugly parts of my life I am dealing with right now have to do with other's harming me. So why do I continuse to protect them? Because that is where I am at on this journey. You amaze me Hope, doing that radio documentary and all, I would have had severe anxiety over that whole thing.

This morning I heard on the news that 10 million dollars is being offered for a picture of Brad and Angelina's twins. That is one spotlight I could never handle!!! The sad fact is that most people want to hear the dirt, the ugly part, the juicy details so they can gossip about it to someone else. 15 minites later that is all that is remembered. Do I sound jaded? I guess I am.

onionboy said...

And yet the author seem to point towards being known, to not speaking anonymously; "As a result, we lose something of great value, for the more we know about another person's story, the harder it is to hate or harm that person."

As I chose to return to blogging after being away for six months I gave consideration to doing so anonymously. In fact I did begin a wordpress blog under a psuedonym but then decided against it. I've decided, come what may and I may be sorry, to own me.

That said, I respect and honour your choice.

daisymarie said...

It's a very true quote. I, too, enjoy a deeper level of connection though through anonymity. I do value the connections, though...a lot!

annie said...

Interesting question Hope. I've noticed the same thing about myself. I came from an environment where beliefs had to be a certain way, and if I strayed from that way, I was corrected. Sometimes it's easier to hash stuff like that out in front of strangers (who become a sort of friend) on the internet because they are not personally vested in how you believe and are not threatened by your stirring around in the pot.

That's one of my guesses.

beth said...

This really resonated with me, because I think it's at the heart of most folks' spiritual seeking. Our church is built on the premise that digging into one another's stories is what makes life worthwhile and real and most meaningful.

For me, I started my blog annonymously and built into revelation. It's been a huge part of my spiritual journey. Not without fear and trepidation still, but it's been good and healthy.

Whatever works for each of us, that's what I think. You may blog annonymously but your radio program was very brave.

Black Pete said...

What Parker Palmer has not addressed, conversely, is the importance of boundaries.

We do not spill our innermost feelings, etc to those nearest us (except for spouses and partners and perhaps close friends) because paradoxically, the closer we are physically to others, the greater the need to maintain personal boundaries, part of which includes selective withholding of deeply personal information.

Our extensive societal experience tells us that communities and neighbourhoods can stand only so much revelation of the deeply personal before sundering. As well, we individually need some psychological sense that what is ours, is ours, not the public's.

I agree with Palmer that knowing another's struggles can be an antidote to callousness and hate, but there is a balance of personal and public that isn't addressed in this quote.

Speaking more to your own situation, Hope, we in the blogosphere know more than your neighbours about you because we "out here" are not immediately going to tell the whole town, as it were, what you say. You can safely vent, say something you wish later you hadn't, slip up, whatever, and the sky will not fall. Conversely, in your neighbourhood, the sky would fall is your struggles were as transparent there as they are "here".

All that said, the personal/public balance is a dynamic one, whose boundaries change constantly. Vigilance is needed to maintain a healthy balance between the two.

Jim said...

I've put concentrated effort and prayer into the last few weeks, looking for God to open doors with my grandkids, it having occurred to me that I go monthly to the Detention Center and yet my own heritage and I have talked almost not at all about such things....