Last year, I argued that we must move beyond our keyboards (though we can do quite a bit behind them, as well), and get out into Meatspace. Of course, some hated the title, but the point is still valid. A few months later, I followed up with a post about what we can do. Again, still valid objectives. No doubt, some of the resources mentioned might have turned out to be less than ideal (talking about you, Gab), but the principle is valid. It is silly to think that every single attempt is going to work out the way we want. We just try things out, use them if they work, move on if they don’t.
But one vital thing that we have to do is get to know like-minded folks. It is all well and good to build up our relationships online, and we support that, but we have to actually get to know people in real life. A couple of weeks ago, we had our annual get together, hosted by one of our good friends (who has posted here, but not on a regular basis). We even invited our good friend Hoosier Hillbilly to the shindig, and he was gracious enought to accept. If you read the comments on our posts, you recognize his name. He is the first of our regular commenters to be invited to the gathering, and we are glad that he was able to come.
Why? Because we got to know him in real life. We have a face to go with the name (and even his real name). We began to build a stronger relationship with him. He fit right in and is now one of us. That is important, because when trouble comes, who else are you going to call but those with whom you are close?
One of the authors on this site, and a very, very good friend, is struggling with health issues, and they are severe. At our gathering, we surrounded him and prayed for his recovery and for his family. Sure, we can ask for prayers over the internet, and we do, but it was a special time to actually be in his presence, all together, and be able to pray in person. It was a powerful moment.
That is something that we cannot do online. Honestly, most folks project a particular image online, and it may (or may not) match them in real life. So we have to actually spend some time together to actually get to know one another.
Over the past several years, we have been building a community. It started online, but has now spread across the globe, with members on multiple continents. Now, not everyone can make it to every get together, but we have had folks from Europe make it, and we hope to have folks from other locations in the future. We are able to network with one another for various things: medical facilities, jobs, churches, etc. If I would like to visit Alaska, I have a personal friend who lives there who can give useful feedback. I have shaken the man’s hand in person. He knows who I am and knows what I am like.
We have some folks who have looked for jobs, and we have people in almost every conceivable career field. We can give advice and even help find jobs. That is hard to do when you don’t really know someone. If you only know an online persona, you might hold back in recommending the person for hire, as that reflects on you. But if you really know them, you have no such qualms.
And folks, that is what community is about. It is about being that group of people who share goals, values, beliefs, and are able to support those who struggle, and be bold enought to ask for help when needed. We share our good times and our bad.
You can read the various authors on this site and know that I have met almost all of them in person (there are a few exceptions). Yet those exceptions have met some of the other authors, and so between us, we have developed a very strong network. Any one of these men (or women) can call me on the phone and talk to me in person. We keep track of one another, and if one is traveling through a certain region, and know that others of us are there, we touch base and do our best to arrange face-to-face meetings, just for the fellowship. It is often just sharing a meal at a local restaurant.
These are the people that I care about. I pray for them, and they pray for me. I give them advice, and they do the same for me. If I see one acting stupidly, we are close enough that I can call them out, and vice versa.
It is a comfort to know that I have friends. It is more comforting to know that these friends are also working to save Western Civilization. That is no job for a loner. It is the work of a band of brothers. I am blessed to have them, and there is no way that any of us could keep up our fight without the love and support of the others.
So if you find yourself alone, you need to be reaching out to likeminded folks and building those relationships. It might end up including us, but it might not. That really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you recognize the power of friendship and cultivate those connections.
Plus, it is a lot of fun. We laugh, joke, and play all the time. It cuts through the drudgery of life, and gives us something to hang on to when times are tough.
I love these guys, and can’t imagine what my life would be like without them. I don’t even want to try. I hope you also have such a bond with others. Man was not made to be alone.