I hate the term "navel gazing."
I read that on so many great Catholic women's blogs. A little shrug. "Oh I'm just navel gazing here since 2005." Don't know why anyone would spend all this time reading about little old me.
I got an answer to myself for the question, "Why do you blog?"
I blog for a sense of community. The spiritual life is hard. I don't have many people around me who are deeply and totally, in love with Jesus, their spouse, their kids, prayer, writing, history, gardening, and the cello. Writing is a way of establishing community--both online and in real life.
I take small risks at being more "weird" and "authentic" and "thinking outside the mainstream" by writing odd posts on my blog. Then this new pattern of boldness serves me better in real life. After blogging for six years, I'm more likely to share my authentic self with a new acquaintance at Church, Carmel, Swim Team or Scouts. Sometimes, being "real" gets mud thrown in my eye. But sometimes, I'll see that little twinkle of recognition and think "Wow, there might be real friendship possibilities here." I'm slowly finding "my people."
Jesus is in everything I do. He's in me. So I don't have to talk about Him, to be talking about him. You know? For example, I really have a passion for gardening. It's untapped. I don't know what I'm doing yet. But I know for sure that we were given this tiny 1/10 acre of lawn to become Urban Homesteaders. This year its sunflowers and tomatoes. Next year it's potatoes. Someday there are going to be raspberry bushes and blueberry bushes around me that I pluck bare for my Saturday morning pancakes.
That love for gardening, it's getting me people! It's slow and unsteady, but I'm already gathering my tiny, unofficial gardening club around my neighborhood. I love talking to people about plants. There is a special connection that is formed every time plant lovers find each other.
Every time I talk to someone in my new neighborhood about what they are growing in their garden--it's a Jesus conversation. We don't have to "talk Church, to talk Church." It's a holy, beautiful thing. It's an association. It's a community.
Our Lay Carmelite Order is establishing new rules about living in community. This passage is so beautiful, I thought I'd share.
"The human person, by virtue of his or her spiritual nature, grows through interpersonal relationships. The more one lives authentically, the more mature also is their personal identity, through being in relationship with others and with God. Therefore the community of the Secular Order, are places to live in communion and promote a personal and communal meeting with Christ--who is present when 2 or 3 are gathered in his name, seek to live out the command to love one another, and practice Christian virtues."
(Proposed changes to the OCDS Constitution)
I'm mentally rewriting that passage to fit the Christian blog community.
The Christian blogging community is a place to in communion and to promote our personal and communal meeting with Christ. Christ promises to be with anyone who gathers in his name, seeks to live out the command to love one another and to practice Christian virtues.
That's why the "navel gazing" comment seems so demeaning to our writing and has a false sense of modesty about it. When we write our blogs--with authenticity-- we're not gazing at our navels. We are gazing at Christ! The one who is with us, within us, and around us!
So readers don't come to watch you gaze at your navel. Ugh! Mine is filled with lint and leaking breast milk residue this morning. Readers come to form an online "community." To be strengthened in each of our personal relationship with Christ and to be motivated to keep climbing onward and upward in the spiritual life!