(5/31/13 : The Feast of the Visitation)
It was one year ago today after grading my first set of final exams that I finally launched the CatholicSkywalker Blog onto the interwebs.
Before I write anything else, I would like to make a few notes of thanks.
Of course I wouldn't be CatholicSkywalker if I didn't first give thanks to the Lord for this time. This past year with all the crazy health issues, I've tried to remember that every single day, every single moment is a gift from Him. I try very hard not to waste that gift and use what time I have to make the world a little more the way He would want it.
And this blog would not be possible without the constant patience of my most beloved wife. Time spent here writing is often time not spent with her, and there is no place I would rather be than with her. But she has read all of my posts and offers me her kind support and encourages me to continue.
I also have to thank bloggers John Nolte and Christian Toto. Over at the Big Hollywood Blog, the held a small writing contest. I entered on a lark and I somehow won. This validation of my small skills got me thinking that I would like to write more.
And this blog would never have come into existence without the encouragement of Blimpy. He was actually the first person who suggested to me that I write online. Not being the most tech-savvy person, this seemed like a tremendous undertaking. I would not have gone forward if not for his support.
This is also true for all of my friends who have taken the time to read this blog. I cannot tell you what an unexpected delight it is for me when out of the blue, someone I know will say, "Hey, I saw on your blog that..." and proceed to comment on what I wrote. Feedback from all my friends, Rick O. Pluckarious, The Doctor, Mr. Pink... and my family have meant so much to me.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you constant readers. I know that the last few weeks have been uneven, but you have held with me. I don't have any illusions that my words are having any gigantic impact on the universe, but I pray that reading these humble scribblings makes your day just a little brighter, happier, and better.
At least a little.
After a year of blogging and nearly 550 posts, I have a few thoughts on the subject:
Blogging has helped me think.
I used to spend most of my time with very vague opinions and attitudes towards all manner of things like movies, politics, culture, spirituality. But having to put those thoughts into words in some kind of intelligible way forces me to take these out of focus jumbles and sort them in a clear, coherent order. If I like a movie, like the little seen foreign film Teddy Bear, I have to be able to plainly and directly explain why. If get a bad feeling from a book's success, like 50 Shades of Gray, then I can't just sight some kind of icky feeling. I need to be able to articulate my insight and judgment so that others can evaluate my thoughts for themselves.
Blogging has made me more disciplined.
I am quite possibly the most naturally lazy person you will ever meet. My old spiritual director said that I am caught up in inertia. If I am not engaged in an activity, it takes a great deal of effort to change my sluggard state. But blogging has forced me to budget time. Not only did I have to make room in my day, but I knew that it would time working. Granted that blogging isn't shoveling coal, but it does take a bit of concentration to write anything even semi-decent.
Blogging makes me think more broadly.
When I put out an essay or a movie post, I know that people from many different walks of life might be reading. While everything I say is my own thought, I have to keep in mind the wide variety of tastes and temperaments out in the world. I have to remember that not everyone has my strange tastes in films and television, so I try to keep that in mind when I recommend a movie. Your time is valuable and I would want you to waste it on something that only suites my peculiar enjoyments.
Blogging has created a constant monologue in my head.
I don't mean that I hear voices. But whenever I begin to think deeply about any subject, I find myself composing the words of a new blog post to explain it. I remember I was sitting in the chapel at school reflecting on a passage from that day's Scripture. Something occurred to me in my reflection that delighted me. And before I could catch myself, I imagined the sentence "I remember I was sitting in the chapel at school reflecting on a passage from the day's Scripture..." And then I stopped and realized that by thinking about how to explain what I was experiencing, I was missing out on the experience of it. I don't know if this is necessarily good or bad, but I find that it happens a lot.
Blogging has forced me to be more creative.
If I want to add my two cents on a subject, I feel a good deal of pressure to think of some way to express it in an original way. If not, then I would just use the blog like a series of links to more interesting writers. If all I did was regurgitate what was already speeding around the world wide web, then it would give you no reason, dear reader, to spend your precious few minutes a day here.
Blogging has made me more thankful.
I think the advantage of being small blog like this is that the people who post comments tend to be the ones who do it out of kindness rather than venom. I get way too excited when I get a notice that someone commented on something I wrote. But the overwhelming emotion I feel is gratitude. I have a few regular commentators (you know who you are), and I am always so thankful for your kind words and thoughts. Often your points have more insight than the article commented upon, but you are kind enough to keep coming back and reading.
Thank you all for this past year. God willing we will continue this journey together for many more to come.