Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
I am thankful for the little community that has grown up here. Kind of surprised, too. Though I ran a couple of test posts back in January, I didn’t start putting up regular posts here until March. Now I would feel a little lost without this virtual home.
It amazes me what high quality commenters I have gotten at the site on a regular basis, people I learn from. We have people from a lot of different viewpoints, too. Oh, I get a few cranks from time to time and those who just want to vent anger. The surprise has been how few they are. Having written for secular publications with a decent audience, too, you get a lot of trolls, who just say provocative things or offer explanations about how rotten you are without offering anything constructive at all. If it is reasonably civil and has some point, other than that I’m just a rotten guy, I put it up. The startling thing is that, based on the size of the audience, it is only about a tenth of what I am accustomed to seeing.
I always worry about the unabashed critics, though – that maybe I dismiss what I should listen or respond to. But if you get caught up in that, you spend all your time with people who have nothing positive to offer and start short-shrifting the people who are getting something out of it and do offer real hope and insight. Still, you worry that some might be really sincere people who just can’t express their legitimate concerns in a constructive way – and that you might be missing something important. Fortunately, the regulars here have gotten very good about offering correctives when things seem like they might be going astray, occasionally in comments, sometimes in emails. That’s good, for that is what family does for each other. We have become a sort of online family of followers of Christ. For the critics who don’t have anything I think of St. Augustine’s insight about such things: “Just as you are, so also do others appear to you.” While that dictum makes me sad for the interior life of those few who have little but sneers and snarls to offer, it makes me rejoice for the many who have charity, vigorous points of view, and ultimately affection for each other here.
It is heartening that, in a world where comment sections are largely a toxic insult-fest, here I think we all learn from each other, reason together, and grow a little closer to truth, broadening both our understanding for each other and our points of view while keeping to Christ and Our Lady. Yeah, we thunk each other upside the head every now and again, but that is what families do, too, and then move on. We kind of stumble forward together.
I am thankful for my extended family, both those who are blood relatives and the great network of friends. I am grateful for my friend Bob, in Colorado, who gives me a place in his basement to work and live out of; my friends Brad and Lisa, who provide me with a good, old truck to make the rounds in. (Lisa’s Dad is in very bad health right now, prayers would be much appreciated). I am grateful for the folks who are putting together the prayer groups that are built on simplicity and going forth to be a sign of hope to others. I am thankful for my friends at Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden and those at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Arvada.
But I am particularly thankful for the virtual parish that has arisen here at this website. (Hee hee, we have a multitude of priests, religious and yes, even a few bishops among us watching over us all). Today, I offer up the Prayer of Miraculous Trust for us all, asking the Lord to send St. John Bosco to comfort and to guide us through the Storm, bringing us safely through the two great pillars of Mary and the Eucharist into port.
Over at the Peppy Prepper, my old friend John McConnell put up some of the more basic things you can do to get prepared for times of trouble. You ought to check it out if that is one of your priorities. I am thankful for all of the people who are, with great generosity, preparing to help people in times of need.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. See you Friday.