I’ve been looking forward to today for quite awhile. Earlier this year, HisGirlAmber told me she’d be in Louisiana this month. I thought that the chances of our schedules aligning and us actually getting to meet were hopeful but unlikely. But then, a a couple of weeks ago, the stalker “pre-MIRL countdown” (that’s Meet In Real Life for those of you who are just tuning in) phone texts began. And last night I really truly realized for the first time that this was actually going to happen. I was going to get to spend some time with a friend who until today was only a friend who lived in my computer.
I don’t remember how I found HisGirlAmber’s blog. It was probably through Meredith. I can trace probably 85% or more of my friends who live in my computer back to a connection with her. If she ever starts charging me a finder’s fee, I’m in trouble. I think what I love most about Amber’s blog is that she gets right to the heart of the matter and finds God in the everyday minutes of life. I’ve left her blog encouraged, convicted, inspired…sometimes all of those at once! She doesn’t waste words. And she points back to Jesus every time. I love that she’s not cocky about her abilities but she’s confident enough to use her talents and passions to do great work for the kingdom. The girl sat down and wrote a Bible study about the book of Daniel, people. Who does that? Besides Beth Moore?
So today was the big MIRL day. I was nervous. I’d like to think that by this point in my life I’m confident enough in my life to accept that not everyone’s going to get me and not everyone’s going to love me. And that maybe people can get along really well in the comments section of a blog and not have much to talk about when they’re sitting across a table from each other eating burgers (and cheesesticks) at a table at Fuddrucker. But I wanted them to like me. And I wanted it to be a fun day.
Did I mention they met me here at my house? My house that was family clean but not company clean. Certainly not, please-judge-me-as-a-housekeeper-for-the-first-time-you-meet-me clean. But that’s my fault and another story for another day (or not). And Amber was bringing her best friend forever and her BFF’s friend. I felt like it would be okay, but I was sweating it a little.
They arrived a little early. For me, and this is really only my third MIRL, the initial hellos are the most awkward. But that lasted less than a couple of minutes and the rest of the day, as I said on Amber’s blog, was like picking up on a conversation with old friends that started a long time ago. I love those girls. Amber is the Amber I’ve already known all these months through our blogs. Sing4Joy Judi, her BFF, is the real deal and a great big walking heart. Ashleigh is an easygoing sweetheart who loves life and does a mean leprechaun leap. I haven’t weathered any storms with these girls. We don’t have a lot of history together. I don’t know every chapter and page of their stories (although they were very patient with my Barbara Walters interview questions). But those girls are my friends. More than that, they are my sisters.
I think MIRL is kind of a misnomer. This blog is real life to me. I’m not trying to go all Julie and Julia, but my friends who live in my computer are as true and real and dear to me as my friends who live outside it. I don’t expect everyone to understand that. I think those of you who read and comment on blogs regularly do. I don’t think that I truly “know” every person who leaves a comment on this blog. But for many of us, the blog was just the starting point of our friendship. We have emailed, texted, called….and on special days, MIRLed. I wouldn’t trade a single friend with whom I’ve had the privilege of doing life with in the flesh. But I also wouldn’t trade the friends I’m doing life with in more untraditional ways. I am real here. I speak my mind here. Do I hold anything back? Of course I do. But I do that “in my real life,” too.
Today my computer life and “my real life” intersected for a few hours. My friends stepped out of my computer and into my world. We ate, laughed, frolicked (isn’t that the photographic direction you gave us, Judi?), letterboxed stealthily (another topic for another day…if you think you’re cool enough to handle it), and left very few stones unturned (literally and conversationally). Some time during the day, I couldn’t help but think about Heaven. One day, we are going to have the biggest MIRL party ever. We’ll MIRL with Jesus and then we’ll be together with the friends we’ve met and the ones we’ve never seen on this earth. As I sit here and replay moments from my day in my head, I get more and more excited about that day. And although I can’t find a Bible verse or a Randy Alcorn reference to prove it, I think there might be letterboxing there. If you come unprepared, I’ll let you borrow my stamp!
Amber, Judi, Ashleigh, I love you girls and today will be a memory I’ll cherish. Thanks for taking the time to come and see me and share your lives with me. I feel honored and I hope we get to do it again this side of Heaven. Y’all come back now, you hear?
I was so geeked out I didn’t take a single picture! But Sing4Joy and HisGirlAmber posted one or two on their posts today. She Who Should Not Remain Blogless obviously didn’t post any pictures on her blog…because she doesn’t have one. (sigh)