On Axe Murderers and Cut-Out Friends (Guest Post by Lyla Lindquist)
Today, I am honored to share with you one of my favorite writers: Lyla Lindquist of A Different Story. She’s smart, funny and wonderfully gifted in writing. She shares profound insights a few times a week over at her blog, but today — when she guest-posts over here at Getting Down With Jesus — she decides to talk about “axe murderers” and “cut-out friends” instead. 🙂
And somehow, she has convinced me to publish a photo (below) of me looking like a crazed killer. Hey, that’s what friends are for.
Seriously, Lyla is great, and I know you’ll like her.
Today, we’re participating in a High Calling Blogs project called “You Are Real.” So, Lyla and I are guest-posting at one another’s blogs this morning, talking about how we’ve developed “real” friendship out on the big ol’ World Wide Web.
I’m posting over at Lyla’s, and you can get there by clicking here.
But stick around first to read what Lyla has to say here:
ON AXE MURDERERS AND CUT-OUT FRIENDS
By Lyla Lindquist
They’d issued their warning.
“Don’t do it, Mom. It’s dangerous,” Isaac said, tossing a football through a crowd milling around on a mowed alfalfa field.
I waved them off. “Trust me on this,” I said. “She’s okay.”
“Well, we’re not talking to her.” JP jogged up the line to catch the ball. “People you meet on the Internet are all axe murderers. That’s what you told us.”
We’d already been over this ground. Of course they weren’t all axe murderers.
Some used poison while others preferred explosives.
But when I neither blew up nor dropped over dead after enjoying a scrumptious gift of homemade jam sent from a sweet friend in Alabama, they concluded there must be a time release. My moment of peril was still coming.
And it would come with an axe.
Jennifer left her axe in the camper that weekend last summer when we first met three-dimensionally in Sioux Falls at a Christian music festival. And I didn’t fear the axe. Not much, anyway.
But I suppose I may have had at least as much anxiety about that meeting as my kids pretended to have. Would she meet me — real me — and find me to be just a poser and a fraud, a dork that hides behind fancy words and clever phrases like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain?
And how did this happen, anyway?
I started blogging in the pursuit of some goals I’d allowed to expire. It took months before I even acknowledged that what I was doing was “blogging.” I just told folks I was “doing a little writing online.” As I wandered around trying to find an outlet for my stuff, I’d stumble onto other blogs and read of people and their “bloggy friends,” a term that still makes me just a tiny bit queasy.
Folks who know me beyond what Jennifer might call the “two-dimensional words on the screen” can bear witness that I practice a lazy introversion. I don’t pursue relationship, and in fact normally resist it.
I sure didn’t want any bloggy friends to keep track of.
But I should know this by now: that against which I set my jaw is that same thing toward which He’ll turn my heart.
Not long after I inexplicably joined a network that was all about community forcryingoutloud, I started sharing a little bit of life with a homeschooling mom, an online English professor, a youth leader, and others. They’ve prayed for me, encouraged me, and allowed me to do the same for them. They’re real people who’ve let me into a little corner of their lives through nothing more than a comment box or an email.
In a display of true heroics, a fellow introvert and I spent nearly an hour on the phone, both of us talking. Neither of us died, although I may have had an extra trip or two to the bathroom in anticipation of the call.
But here’s the thing. These relationships, they start with a few safe words pecked out on a keyboard between friends who seem no more than cardboard cut-outs online.
But if we let them, they grow into something that is, yes, very very real.
Jennifer didn’t politely meet me in the pasture and go on her way. She stuck around to pursue something real. We’ve met for lunch a couple of times. We email now and again and a couple of weeks don’t usually go by when I don’t hear her voice at the other end of the phone. (And because real friends get these things, she usually texts me first to see if I can cope with such a thing.)
Yes, we frequent each other’s homes online, but not long ago she welcomed me into her home on the farm when I came through the area on business. (And her daughter Anna let me use her bed.)
And though she’ll tell you it’s nothing of the kind, she always makes the dork in me feel like I’m sitting at the cool kids’ table.
A few weeks ago we talked by phone while I was on the road looking at storm claims. Afterwards my business partner, who was driving, turned and said, “You don’t talk to anybody on the phone. She must be a real good friend.”
She was right, you know. Very unexpectedly right.
For this thing has been very unexpectedly real.
Axe: Dora Pete via Stock.xchng
Knife: When I suggested Jennifer go sharpen her axe, she replied with this photo via cell phone, saying “I’m more into knives lately.”
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Hi-larious, Lyla! And the knife pic at the end? Perfection!
I so identify with this post–the introversion, the delight at finding encouragement from far away cut out friends. And a year ago I had a 3D meeting with a "bloggy friend," despite my ten year old's warnings that this was a bad, bad idea. It was beautiful, and I'm so glad I stepped out of my cave and did it!
I love seeing the paths God keeps interweaving…
Love this and I love you guys! Its funny how this cyber world brings people together. Reminds me of pen pals back in the 'old days when snail mail was cool! 🙂
I feel blessed to have met both of you and I hope someday we will have the opportunity to meet this side of heaven. 🙂
Love this! I'm a little weirded out realizing that I have relationships with and care about people I've never met. And having followers? That really creeps me out. You've captured the strange reality of blog world. And, even if I never get to meet some of these dear people in real life, I intend to party with them in heaven!
For this introvert it has been pure pleasure! Truly an unexpected treasure from the Lord. I am blessed seeing His presence in those I have been privileged to "meet" through this www. world.
You made me laugh! I hope to meet some of my "bloggy" friends one day (I feel the same way about that word…) and I sincerely hope that none of them are axe murderers!
Oh this is such a great story — and I love Lyla…she totally cracks me up!
This is the line that stuck with me:
"But if we let them, they grow into something that is, yes, very very real."
"If we let them…" Yes, this is the key. I admit, I resisted online friendships. Like Lyla, I figured, just what I need…more friendships to maintain. But boy it's been surprising, these online friendships. I could never have expected this gift!
And Jennifer, you are one of those friends,too — I just loved meeting you in person here in Lincoln!
a smile for you both. thank you for your real for me…
Lyla, Jennifer — What a great friendship you have formed. I love getting the whole "axe-murderer" thing out in the open. If we're honest, that's really on all our minds when we meet each other off-line.
Glad I stopped by!
When Jennifer asked me recently if I wanted to swap posts sometime, I told her that she was always welcome at my place, anytime. (Where would she not be?) But I said I wasn't sure I really wanted to ruin the mood at her place.
You're all very gracious to welcome me here, and I appreciate that so much.
Rebecca, when she sent me that picture yesterday I nearly spit my soda. And I hadn't had any to drink for at least an hour before that.
Country Girl (I can't call you simple — I see the things you say and they're far too deep and rich), thank you.
Julie, funny. We never worried about pen pals showing up with axes on our doorsteps. We implicitly trusted anyone who would write a letter.
First Nancy, it is weird. This is the last thing I thought I'd care about, these relationships. But oh, my goodness.
Second Nancy, my friend, you bless me. From my toes. I probably never told you my kids were so silly and I got to eat the jam myself. 🙂
Angel, odds are good that only a couple of them will wield axes. There's so much diversity nowadays. 😉
Michelle, thanks. You ever kind of wonder what we really expected this to be like, when so many of us resisted the whole relational part of it? I don't know what I was thinking.
Kelly, you're something else. And you are so very much one of those that He brought me back 'round to me when I resisted, like an idiot. But you know I'm an idiot already. I guess I don't need to tell you that here.
Charity, I just laughed out loud at that comment. How you put that, getting the whole axe-murderer thing out in the open. I know that things got a lot less tense for Jennifer and me when we cleared the air about where we kept the axe, her knife thing. Thanks for making me smile here.
And I have to say, friend Jennifer, that it's a whole lot easier for me to reply to comments in Word Press. I feel as though I've written a second post, well exceeding the recommended 500-700 words.
Thanks for hanging out at my place today and letting me sneak in here. You're the best.
Yes, Rebecca, "Now that's a KNIFE!" … Honestly? I can't believe I published that photo. I guess I easily succumb to peer pressure from "real" friends. 🙂
Amen, Simple Country Girl.
Glad our paths have been interwoven as well.
Julie, mom2six and Angel — I look forward to an in-person meeting with you all someday.
Nancy — I appreciate your honesty. That's it, exactly. It can feel really weird! I mean, we're out here on the World Wide Web, so we know it's all out in the open. But it still feels risky, doesn't it?
Graceful — It was my pleasure. I remember sitting in those chairs in Lincoln, NE, and feeling like I already knew you. Truly. A blessing.
Kelly — And I'm glad for the real you bring to me. So blessed by you.
Charity — Can't wait to read your post with Ann Kroeker! How cool that you live so close.
And Lyla — You rock. Thanks for being here today. You make me laugh and you make me think and you are all that a friend should be!
Lyla, you crack me up. Have the boys relaxed yet? What if a psycho-logist came calling?
Now we could have some fun with that.
Ha, Laura, I'd love to see my boys get a visit from a psycho-logist!
Know any good ones? 😉
beautiful blog..pls visit mine and be a follower.. thanks and God bless..
Lyla, your writing leaps off the page (kinda scary when talking about axes).
I saw Charity's comment–she and I had an interesting conversation with my 8yo son's concerns about meeting someone in person who was previously only known online. He focused on kidnapping. We were deep into the conversation when I realized he didn't know that Charity and I first met online and only later in person. He was sitting across from her at our kitchen table when I said, "You do know that Charity and I met online, don't you?"
"Well, we did. And here she is. What do you think of that?"
His eyes got wide. I had suggested he go to bed seconds before before revealing the awful and shocking truth, and he skedaddled directly to his room…to escape Charity, who for all we know made up that sweet first name to mask her evil intentions…
great story of how God can provide friendships in the craziest of places! Thanks for sharing!
Ann, I really kinda wondered when she had that knife picture so quickly at the ready. Like it was already in her photo gallery… 😉
From a fellow introvert…I can relate to much of what you have written, Lyla…
I have the same feelings of awe about the close relationships that are formed online…secrets shared…prayers proclaimed…and answers anticipated…
God does work in mysterious ways…and so many of the sweet sisters I have met are truly "wonders"!
God's love for us is amazing and the ways He works to connect us beyond our comprehension.
Thanks for sharing.
Kids are real, aren't they Lyla? At least they listened to you about what to fear online! My guys are too old now and just shake their heads at me.
Love how the relationship developed, and how you've been willing to let others, especially Jennifer, into your space.
Wonderful friendship does occur online.