Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Three Years of Blogging: I Am Grateful For The Journey

Happy Birthday to the Never-Give-Up-Blog,
Happy Birthday to the Never-Give-Up-Blog,
Happy Biiiiiiirthday to the Never-Give-Up-Blooooooooooog,
Happy Birth... well, you get the idea.

This blog is three years old today.

That's right, three years of writing fairly regularly and sometimes thoughtfully. For someone with my constraints, it means a lot to my own sense of... I dunno... "self-worth?"... (or delusions of grandeur or whatever) that I've kept this little enterprise going consistently for three years.

It began as a whim, an idea that I tossed out to my then small group of Facebook "friends" (which pretty much consisted of people I had known a long time, and also my former students):

So I got five "likes" and sixteen "comments" which was quite a response for me in those days. Many of the responses were simply "Yes!" (often with exclamation point). That meant something, because these were people I trusted. Still, I wanted to know whether they were actually saying something more than just, "Sure. Go for it, man!" So I asked more precisely:

A small chorus of "Yes, we want to read YOUR blog" was raised in the combox. These were people I knew, people who were dear to me in various ways, people who were able to perceive that I might be able to do something well. Notice how I have discreetly concealed their identities. Many of them know who they are, even if they rarely actually read the blog, hahaha (but don't worry about that... although, you could always start up now).

You gave me encouragement, dear good friends, and one of the things I want to do on this anniversary is say, "Thank you." (Of course the problem is that you're not reading this now, haha! If I get the chance I'll PM you the link to this post and thank you personally.)

Anyway, you convinced me, and on January 29, 2011 the first of more than 600 posts was proclaimed to the Facebook world:

It has been worth the effort, and remains so. I have discovered that the blog is a kind of literary genre in its own right. I have some frequent readers, more than enough to encourage me to keep writing. (Of course, as an incurable teacher, I only need a handful of people to give me the sense that I have "a classroom," even though sometimes the material here is unusual for a classroom, being so introspective, and sometimes painful.)

There is something about the charism of teaching that can't help being stirred up. It's an impetus that always wants to foster opportunities and places for learning and growing. It's so strong and so implacable that even when I'm suffering, even when I'm losing my mind, I want somehow to turn it into an opportunity for people to learn something. So I try to present my experience. I wrote a book about being sick. I wrote, and I continue to write about mental illness.

I try not to be didactic. Rather I try to walk on this journey together with everyone and observe the slopes and bends and surprising things on the path. I am the person who notices things and wonders at their beauty, their strangeness and even their scariness. Still I look and I try to see the significance of what I find along the way, and I can't help wanting to draw others over to look for themselves. "Come and look at this!" I want to say.

Even (indeed especially) if I find it inside myself.

For I am more convinced than ever that even down to the deepest depths we are all traveling together and we are all going to the same place. We must, therefore, help one another.


Mrs. H. said...

Thank you so very much for sticking with your blog. Only in eternity will you know how many souls you have touched with your words. Far more, I think, than you would have even if you had been able to continue teaching. I know that there have been many days when what you wrote was just exactly what I needed to hear ON THAT VERY DAY! Are you spying on me?? ��. You are using the talents God gave you in just the way He wants you to right now, although it may not have been part of your original plan. Thank you and keep it up!

Margaret in Virginia said...

Happy Anniversary, John! It's hard to believe it has been three whole years. I remember when you were considering a blog; I am glad you listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit through your fans!

John Janaro said...

I'm grateful to God for using me and this blog to help you and others. It does not surprise me because we are members of Christ's body, and the Holy Spirit knows what we need and when, and also what we can give. Thus we build one another up. Thank you for your encouragement and God bless you!

John Janaro said...

Thank you, Margaret. Although I'd rather say "through my *friends*" than "fans." It's true that some of those friends I hadn't seen in 20+ years. But when you experience with other the singular adventure of meet Jesus and following him together in his Church, you are friends forever. Thank you again, and God bless you!