Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blog Confusion

For some time now, I've been feeling really confused about this blog.  Until a few months ago, the purpose of the blog was really clear to me.  We started it out of necessity when Samuel was four days old.  We spent every spare minute of his first few days emailing the many people who care about our family, and it was exhausting writing essentially the same email over and over and over.  And we worried about who we'd forgotten, who might be hurt they were out of loop, etc.  It wasn't time we had or the things we needed to be focused on.  So when Samuel was four days old, we decided a blog was the solution; we could keep people informed about Samuel, his prognosis, and how we were holding up, and we could be free the rest of the time to focus on our son.

Once Samuel died, my perspective on the blog shifted.  It became a place for me to process my grief.  It was basically a journal, and the fact that other people might read it was completely incidental.  It was healing for me to write, and I wanted a record of my grief.  I did it for me -- because it was good for me.

The blog has always been about Samuel in some way -- his struggle for life, our struggle with life once he died, our longing for another child, and how Anna's entrance into our family surfaced grief, made us lonesome for Samuel, and was a tremendous part of our healing.  This blog has really been Samuel-centered, and that's the way I wanted it.

But as time has gone on, as grief has become a gentle presence in our lives instead of a dominant force, as Anna has become an integral part of our family and less and less a a stirrer of our grief, I have become really confused about what this blog is and should be.   Having a blog, two and half years later, devoted purely to our grief feels a little...self-indulgent?  affected?  I don't know -- something that doesn't sit well with me.  At least not if I want to post with any degree of regularity.

As much as I love writing and find it to be good for my soul, it's hard to imagine just jumping ship and abandoning the blog all together.  But I'm having a hard time figuring out what it becomes.  I've been struggling with it for months now.  Should it be an online journal of our family that I keep for my sake and the sake of our kids?  Should it be somewhere where I write about what God is teaching me and how I'm growing?  About parenting -- something I'm incredibly passionate about?  A mixture of all of it -- grief, family, and faith?  I don't know.

I guess the other element that has me all discombobulated is the whole audience thing.  It's been so clear to me since September 2009 that I wasn't writing this for an audience (and in August 2009 I was writing it for prayer support).  If people happened to read it, then fine.  But I wasn't writing for them.   I didn't announce my blog or try to share it.  I didn't try to gain readers (ewww -- the idea is totally unsettling to me).  But that's not really what most blogs are for.  People blog for an audience, to be read.  And I'm uncomfortable with that for me -- at least at this juncture.  (To be fair I must admit that it's a double blessing when someone is encouraged or challenged by what I write -- to know it helped me and someone else is always truly gratifying.  But I have never made that my focus.)  I don't want to do this for accolades or encouragement or to boost my pride.  Something in me is revolted by the very idea of that.  Really, if I'm totally honest, I have something against trying to garner up a group of people to read what I write -- advertising myself or ideas or claiming to have wisdom others should listen to.  It feels like self-promotion, and I am simply uncomfortable with it in every way.  I have friends who blog for an audience, and they do it beautifully, naturally, and humbly.  But I also know people who don't.  And I am afraid of joining their ranks.  I know I don't ever want to sit down to write and think "if no one reads this or comments on it, then it's a waste of time" because that's not true for me.  The value of writing for me is that it helps me process, it helps me see more clearly, it draws my heart to Jesus.  And I don't want to be waylaid and lose sight of that.  So, I'm confused.  Where do I go from here?

I'm not sure how to resolve my confusion.  Maybe at its essence that's what confusion is because if you knew your way out of it, you wouldn't be confused anymore.  I've talked to Bryan about it.  I've talked to my mom.  They can both envision a future for this blog pretty easily, but I can't yet.  I realize I don't have to know exactly what "it" is to keep writing.  That's what I've been doing since December -- writing anyway despite my lack of clarity.  But I would like to have a framework from which I approach the blog -- something that guides and directs what I include and what I don't.  Something that gives it cohesion.

All I know to do for now is write when I feel like I need or want to do so, but my entries might be all over the place.  And they might be sparse.  I just don't know yet.  I am praying for wisdom.  I want to be a light for Jesus, and if writing can be part of that, then by all I means I want to do it.  I also want a record for my kids of their childhood, of our love for them, of our hunger to show them Jesus.  And I continue to want a record of my grief.  So how this blog may or may not blend all those things, I guess I'll have to wait and see.  And in the meantime, I'll keep asking for that wisdom!

12 comments:

  1. You know what I love most about your blog? I love that more than anything, your heart for Jesus shines through. Doesn't matter what you write about - joy, sorrow, hope, fear - the bottom line is always Him.

    Your blog has touched my life in a way that I'm just not sure I could ever effectively describe. It is a poignant reminder to me to cherish every single moment I have on this earth. And to never lose sight of our good and faithful God who is the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be tomorrow.

    I know your blog has evolved/is evolving. I do hope you continue on - in whatever fashion. Your writing is so beautiful - truly, truly a cup of sunshine for my soul.

    Wishing you and your family a very blessed Easter. =)

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    1. Wow, thanks, Amanda! I can't tell you how encouraging that is to me. It's things like this that make Bryan say -- in no uncertain terms -- that he can't imagine me abandoning the blog (and perhaps that he won't allow it! :) ). Thank you for the encouragement! It blesses my heart.

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  2. Kathryn- I love your blog! All of the different stages of it have been so helpful...and hopeful...for me. Reading about your initial journey with Samuel and the initial grieving process was hard, but good....like putting words to and validating so many crazy emotions. As I've told you before, it has been so good to see another family go through something so awful and do it so well.
    Samuel will always be your third child, and grief is a big part of your family's story. Your grieving and his life are just as relevant to your family as Anna rejecting cheerios! Please keep sharing your life, and shining your light. You've been a blessing to me!

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    1. Thank you, sweet Melissa! I think I've told you this before, but when God gave us Samuel, I feel like He also called us to love and serve those who are facing grief -- especially those who have lost a baby. It's good for my heart to hear that in some way I have done that for you.

      And, yes, Samuel and grief will always be a part of our story -- one of the most significant (perhaps THE most significant), for sure. He will always be my third son, my treasured child, and what, besides Jesus, I look most forward to about Heaven. Just as Thomas will be for you. Our grief is by no means over; it's not a finished chapter and never will be. I love the way you put it: "Your grieving and his life are just as relevant to your family as Anna rejecting cheerios!" So true.

      Thank you for the kind words and encouragement!

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  3. With any blog, the initial reasons for writing can change over time. I've personally really enjoyed reading along, and I find your strength throughout the ups and downs that your family has been through a most inspiring trait. I second what Amanda wrote that your blog also helps me to remember each moment, and recognize those little moments for what they are - that it's the little things we need to cherish in this life. It has helped me be more present with both Jason and Kiarda.

    For where the blog is going...I don't know if this is helpful or not, but we keep a family blog. It started out as a way for me to document the roller coaster of pregnancy and parenthood, but it has morphed into a documentary about our family. That's ok by me - it's a great memoir, it helps to disseminate information to friends/family, allows me the chance to reflect on new developments and my parenting choices, and will be a record for my kids when they get to the age when they become parents and ask questions like "Did I do ___ when I was little?" or "How did you handle ___?" etc.

    Keep on writing what's on your heart and mind - the audience is just here to listen (read). :) *hugs*

    Random addendum: Brian should really write a book about how to make pancake art!! I'm sure it'd be a great seller! :)

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    1. Thanks, Anjea! And, yes, Bryan should publish a pancake book. I imagine a coffee table picture book. Could be so fun!

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  4. Guess I'm one of your six-degrees of separation audience members. I regularly check your blog because of how I can see Jesus shining through your life, your circumstances. Your grief, your transparency, your love, your ability to focus on God in all things, speaks to me in a biblical way. I don't mean to sound blasphemous, but your blog encourages me as much as the Bible does. Perhaps because the Spirit shines through you and Bryan. Guess that's what our patriarchs (& matriarchs) were...normal folks who lived for God.
    You do have a lot of options about your blog, though. I have a family blog and a random thoughts blog that are connected. One serves as a photo album for my family who are scattered about the U.S. The other is just for my random thoughts. You can also add a level of privacy and change to view by invitation only, which will keep out folks like me, those on the periphery and keep looped your family and dear friends.
    Your confusion is understandable and you will continue to work through it in a prayerful way in order to find an answer that gives you peace.

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    1. Rebecca, you're hardly a 6 degrees of separation person since we know you in person! Thank you for the encouragement and kind words. I want to live for God, and if this blog helps other people want to do that too/more, then it's pretty hard to imagine closing the loop and limiting who can read it. I just don't know where to put my head so that I am comfortable with everything -- how can I make it available to any reader and yet not be writing for an audience? Before it was an easy grid -- I was journaling my grief. But what am I doing now? Am I journaling at all? Writing in the hopes of helping someone else? If so, that's such a major paradigm shift, that I will have to work really, really hard to get comfortable with it. Anyway...more of my confusion, I guess. :)

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  5. Please don't stop blogging!!!!! I check your blog literally everyday, hoping to get a glimpse into you and your beautiful family's life. I know that makes me sound part crazy, but you know it's just because I love you guys so much! :) Like everyone who reads this blog, I have repeatedly been challenged and encouraged in my walk with Jesus, and we all see Him so clearly on display in your life.

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    1. Thanks, Marissa. I love you, dear friend.

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  6. I'm with "stillwalking"- though I don't check your blog daily, it is always always good to see what is going on in your family and what you are sharing of your heart. The lives that you are living are an encouragement and helps me praise Jesus even more for what we've been given. Just keep writing about your life, the kids, the day to day of being a follower of Jesus. And thank you for sharing your heart.
    Hugs from Berkeley-
    Celeste

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    1. Thanks, Celeste, for the encouraging words!

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