A wonderful thing happened to me one year ago. Barely six months after the launch of Cyclelogical, my on-line repository for thoughts on a variety of topics, I published a post entitled The Human Spirit. A short time later, I received an e-mail from WordPress.com congratulating me on being promoted on Freshly Pressed.
Freshly Pressed? What did this mean? I was new to the blogging world, and I used Cyclelogical, in part, as a virtual storage facility for some of my previous writing. It was my library of travelogues, thoughts and yes, even opinions that shared a sometimes obscure, at least to the outside reader, connection with cycling, and the role it has played in my life. But, perhaps more than anything, it was a treasure chest of memories that was unlocked by the subjects I wrote about, subjects that truly spoke to me.
On March 1, 2011, while contemplating two seemingly divergent news events on opposite sides of the planet, I was riveted on what appeared to be, at least to me, their commonality. The Arab Spring had well and truly begun, and the city of Christchurch, New Zealand was reeling as it tried to deal with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
As I wrote, the thoughts and words flowed with an easy continuity. Jumping from one story to the other, I thought about the nature of the two life-altering events. I thought of the wave of pro-democracy protests building energy across North Africa and the Middle East. I thought of my time spent in Christchurch years before, working as a cycle tour guide, and frequenting areas of the city that would now never be the same again.
Emotion welled up inside me as I pictured friends from New Zealand: people who shared important times and places in my life; places shrouded in time past, and now laid open by the tragic, present day reality. Ironically, the feeling I was left with after the initial rush of emotion was not one of angst, or despair, but one of hope. The strength, and resilience exemplified in the actions of the people from these two far-flung regions, dealing with drastically different issues, in markedly different situations, would ultimately result in my title.
Within minutes of the WordPress notification, my Inbox began to fill with comments: some insightful, some knowledgeable, and some very personal. But, their common trait was that they were overwhelmingly positive. This continuous two-day stream of reaction was joined by perspectives and subscription notices from fellow bloggers the world over, some from the very regions being affected.
To say I was surprised at the response would be an understatement. Overwhelmed would be closer to the mark. But, the thing for which I was totally unprepared, and for which I am most grateful, was the extent to which people shared their feelings upon reading my words. It was these raw, honest, and sincere reactions that spelled out for me, in no uncertain terms, the strength and power of this medium we call the Internet.
Today, an average, ordinary person’s ability to communicate, to share insights, opinions and thoughts that can truly affect others, is remarkable. Call it cliché, but the world really is a much smaller place than even a generation ago.
Thank you to all who read The Human Spirit. Thank you to all who shared a bit of themselves with me through their comments. And finally, thank you to all who unknowingly contributed to my very personal awakening to the power of the written word, which made this ordinary person’s day one year ago, well, nothing short of extraordinary.
Lest I forget, the biggest thank you goes to my life-partner Andrea, who is the person responsible for initially suggesting I use this blog as a writing tool, and as a purposeful reason to hone the craft, and write more. Her amazing photography graces many of my posts, including this one.