I have to confess that I'm both baffled and a bit sad today.
One of the blogs that was an enormous help to me earlier this year when finally acknowledging who I was is now gone.
I'm not really clear about what went on, but apparently someone - or several someones - took exception to something she wrote. And thus started the inevitable flame war.
I respect anyone who takes the time to write about their experience or offer their opinion. I may not agree with it, but I'm glad they took the time to express it. And I wonder why, so many times, what has the potential to be an enlightening discussion of different points of view instead degenerates into a shouting match that illuminates nothing?
And in this case, what's the end result of this battle?
A thoughtful, funny, well-written blog is now gone.
Another blog author, who has become a trusted friend, has mentioned several times that she's never felt comfortable with the charged atmosphere in the blogosphere. It's a shame she has to feel that way, but now I understand why.
How this benefits anyone in our little community escapes me.
From my narrow, somewhat selfish point of view, I've lost one of the few blogs that really seemed to speak to me. Even worse, it feels as if a blossoming friendship was nipped in the bud.
Several months after I started this blog, the author wrote to me out of the blue one day, simply to say hello and offer to help me in any way she could. She had absolutely nothing to gain by doing so; she chose to do so simply out of kindness.
We only corresponded briefly before the dispute that led to her closing her blog started, but it was a genuine comfort to speak with someone who had undertaken the journey I'm just starting, someone to tell me don't worry, you're doing fine, you're going to be OK.
And now that is gone.
I'm sad for my friend, for myself, and for our community, which needs more voices like hers, not fewer. Isn't this hard enough already without attacking each other?
I can't make her blog come back, but I can strive to make mine as enlightening as I found hers. And I hope that someone reading mine might feel that there's someone out there who understands. If it can touch even one person the way her blog touched me, then I'll consider mine a success.
I've had a quote from the great Kurt Vonnegut running through my head the past few days. In his novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Vonnegut sums up how I'm feeling right now:
"There's only one rule that I know of, babies — God damn it, you've got to be kind."
Amen, Mr. Vonnegut.
Here's the other track from Miles Davis's 1969 masterpiece, In A Silent Way, "Shhh - Peaceful." A welcome sentiment at the moment: