Last year at this time I reported that my blog had been visited by 15 countries. This year, stats reveal that blogposts in Midlife In Maine have been read by people in 83 countries! This astounds me. I have no idea how people come to read my posts because I actually pay extra to WordPress to not accept any advertising on my site; so the opportunities to create more “traffic” or link via search engines are therefore few.
Besides the most frequent countries visiting Midlife In Maine (USA, Canada, and Israel) and the more common (Europe and South America) there are people visiting from Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon, Botswana, Nepal, Iraq, Pakistan, Viet Nam, Serbia, Jordan, Korea, Gambia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Cambodia (still nothing from Greenland!).
Although I’m not afraid to express my personal opinion, the things I write about are pretty innocuous. My blog is not intended to be political nor to alienate those who may have ideas that are different from mine. These stats indicate that even unintentionally, what we say may impact people we don’t even know exist (and may come back to bite us if we don’t measure our words with careful intent). I’m not talking about a “Big Brother Is Watching You” sort of mentality; rather my point is that our words can elevate or cause hurt; inspire or oppress; encourage love or spread hate. Our words, and the use of technology, have the potential for tremendous holiness or desecration. That awareness is a critical responsibility that all of us citizens of the world share. Free speech is a tremendous gift; let us not abuse it for hatred nor evil, but rather to ignite hope, reason, righteousness, joy, and creativity. Let not the haters take away our humanity.
Many years ago, my youngest daughter studied in a religious seminary in Israel. One day the school took the girls to visit a holy woman. After meeting with her and hearing her words of wisdom, the girls lined up to request and receive personal blessings that each girl requested from her. It was a sort of assembly line of pleas: most requested that the holy woman pray on their behalf for Mr. Right, for the success of a father out of work, or for the recovery of a sick family member, etc.; and she was quick to give her sincere blessings with few words. Many girls, many blessings; let’s keep the line moving; next!
When it was my daughter’s turn, she asked that the holy woman bless her with clarity. To recognize truth.
The woman stopped the flow of the line. She became very excited. She took my daughter’s hands in hers, and blessed her and blessed her and blessed her. Because, I think, in asking for clarity and truth, my daughter got it so right.
Gosh, there are so many things that are out of our control. We certainly know people in 2013 who are sick or dead, or devastated by natural disaster. But many things are within our power and reach; things that are not reliant on optimal health or finances, pleasant living conditions nor even political or personal liberty. But the things that are within our control – – choices we can make – – are no less fearsome.
In 2014, let us pray that G-d gives us the clarity to choose correctly.