2007. Nine years ago. It doesn’t seem like that long ago.
I was spending several days at a retreat center in Tucson, Arizona where I was a presenter at a spiritual direction training program. Having some time before my next presentation, I placed a call to my mother who lived near Johnstown, PA. She was distressed. Overnight, she had suffered something like a small stroke which left her without vision in one eye. It was the only eye in which she had vision. I contacted my brother who got her to her ophthalmologist. But it was too late. She was blind.
In 2007, I became a full-time care giver for my mother. We moved to St. Louis, where my partner would study in a graduate program. My life changed radically. I would remain at home, not leaving for more than two or three hours at a time, maintaining vigilant care for my mother. In St. Louis, I had no social or professional network and little time to build one.
It was in this context that I began to consider networking by way of social media. I joined Facebook and began a blog. These were things I could do from home. It took a few months, but I slowly gained an understanding of how social media and virtual networking were different from developing a professional network in a more traditional sense. By the end of 2009, I made the decision to take the next step and launch a web site and blog and to use both Twitter and Facebook for networking.
In January 2010, my weekly blog on spirituality, e-merging, was launched. Each week for the last six years I’ve posted reflections on themes of spirituality, daily life, and social justice. Readers were invited to subscribe to these weekly postings and to comment. With the help of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, the traffic to the web site grew. Some months, the web site had between 3500 and 4000 unique visitors. My Twitter follower grew as well to over 16,000 followers. To be honest, I never dreamed that what started as a way to cope with the isolation I experienced as a care-giver would grow to be something so extensive.
My life has changed over the last nine years. While I’ve grown used to being more of a home-body than I was in my earlier life, and while I find writing to be very fulfilling, I find myself drawn to some other projects today. As a psychologist and professor, I am interested in conducting further research on people’s experience of spirituality. I also am interested in writing some longer pieces more suitable for magazine publication.
Starting in 2016, I concluded that in order to engage in some of the things I feel drawn to as a writer and researcher, I need to rearrange my time to accommodate new endeavors. Therefore, I am cutting back on the weekly publication of postings on e-merging. Over the next few months, as I find myself inspired, I will make occasional postings. Perhaps some time later, I’ll return to weekly postings. But my energy will focus on other writing projects — some of which will surely be shared on the blog, e-merging.
I appreciate that so many people have been part of the journey over these last several years. Whether I’ve met you or not, during the times of isolation it was very helpful to see that others connected with me through my written work. It’s been a rich blessing.
© 2016, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.