Thursday, October 21, 2010

Online Friendships

Last week, during an outdoor field trip with about a hundred other homeschoolers, I had a surreal kinda moment that made my day.

As Matthew and his buddy were playing on some hay bales near by, I struck up a conversation with one of the (few) dads there.  He was watching his son play, too.  As we chatted, and shared bits of information about our kids and our lives, I suddenly felt this gnawing sensation at the pit of my stomach...because some of the stuff he was telling me sounded so familiar.  The more he talked, the less I was able to shake the feeling that I'd heard this before.  

Then it suddenly dawned on me.  The poor man must have thought me terribly rude, because I interrupted him mid-sentence in order to ask:  "Is your wife Caitlin Wray!!?"

"Yes, she is," was his answer, to my amazement.

"I follow her blog," I answered enthusiastically.  "I love her blog.  Where is she?  Is she here?" I couldn't believe the coincidence of that moment.

He (whose name I immediately forgot!) nodded and pointed a little ways away, where I beheld a lovely woman with a pony tail sticking out of either side of her head, a little bit Anne-of-Green-Gablesish but without the red pigment.  I laughed silently at that little observation, thinking that this is just how I would have imagined Caitlin to look.  I made a beeline over to her in my eagerness to meet her.  When I asked if she was, indeed, Caitlin Wray, and she answered in the affirmative, I introduced myself.  Before I could even finish telling her that I read her blog and that I thought she read mine, too, she opened up her arms and we hugged.

I was utterly amazed.  We ended up having a great conversation, though it was a bit surreal to know details about each other's lives despite looking into the eyes of a stranger.  She was lovely...just as I knew she would be, having read her blog for quite a while now.  Check it out yourself - it's a good blog and she's a wonderful writer:  Welcome to Normal.  Maybe someday you'll be lucky to meet her, too!

This whole online friendship thing really is a little hard to comprehend.  My experience with Caitlin has happened before, only in reverse - where others have introduced themselves to me by way of saying that they follow my blog.  It's a bit surreal every time, and occasionally disconcerting, when someone asks a question or makes a comment about something I've talked about on my blog!  But I love it.  

One might be inclined to think that online friendships aren't 'real' friendships.  After all, most of the time we haven't even met face-to-face, and we generally aren't involved in the minutia of each other's daily lives.  But what I've found time and time again is that the things I know about my online friends, and the things they know about me, are many of the things that really matter.  Because that's what we typically write about.  And because sometimes it's a bit easier talking to someone about the important stuff when you're not face-to-face.  So although we may not have met, although we may have no idea about each other's daily routines, although we may not even know the names of their life partner (!), we can enjoy an intimate and rewarding friendship.  Attaching a face to the name is just the icing on the cake, a fitting together of a piece of the puzzle.  Certainly, I count amongst my friends some of the lovely people I've met online, and I feel very fortunate that they (you!) are a part of my life.


  1. oh how very fun! :) i will have to go check out her blog, too. i hope WE meet someday. :)darc

  2. I agree with you, online friendship gave me so much new opportunities especially in understanding our adoption world.

    Thanks to be my online friend xxx

  3. I love my online friends like you Ruth!
    But sometimes it is hard to explain to people without online friends! lol
    So exciting you had the opportunity to meet one of yours!

  4. What a cool moment! I do wish that it had happened to be me that was at the field trip and we could have met in person, but since we're not in the same province, I think we will actually have to plan our in-person meeting!

    I also found it funny that she looked as you had imagined she would! This on-line thing can be so amazing sometimes!

  5. Oh Ruth! If only you knew the significance of the Anne (with an E) analogy! We are kindred spirits you and I.

    You can just tell these things, in that first moment when something tells you not to merely say hello, but to open up your arms when you meet someone.

    I was equally thrilled to meet you in person Ruth, and I will most certainly be taking you up on your incredibly kind offer to join my village :)


  6. HI. Well we aren't online friends yet, but I just found your blog via your Mom. At least I think I'm on the right blog... If your parents go to Portage Ave Church then I have the right place! My Grandma goes there and we were there for her birthday celebrations and my youngest 2 children drew your Mom over to us. Our youngest 2 have been home from Ethiopia for almost 8 months. She shared some of your journey and I want you to know that I am praying for you as you heal from your loss and as your hope and wait on your journey to your children. If you want, I do have a blog (which is quite neglected the last while but I'm trying to keep posting). It's password protected, but you can email me at willowdalewhimsy at
    If I have the wrong Ruth, sorry...but I'm pretty sure I met your Mom...