On June 9, 2009, I started a new blog called Freedom Diaries (that's this one). But I didn't tell anyone. In fact, I thought I had selected the blogging options that would keep it out of search engines and the like while I tested the idea and got a feel for it.
I began with a grand proclamation. (Is that an unfortunate hold-0ver from my clergy days--that I tend to make grand pronouncements from time to time? Probably. It was one of my default ways to end an otherwise weak sermon, I must confess--the grand rhetorical, homiletical closing flourish.)
Anyway, back to the story. My first post grandly proclaimed:
Earlier today I decided that sustaining two blogs was one blog too many. Now, at the risk of becoming the poster child for some sort of multiple blogging disorder, I'm starting another one a mere four hours later.
But this one's different. This one, in fact, has already been written. Just not published.
This blog already exists as entries in my various journals--most in spiral-bound notebooks, handwritten in Parker's washable blue fountain pen ink (most of the time); some in bits and pieces in my computer's memory. All that needs to happen is for me to choose and copy journal entries from one format into blog format, and presto! The Freedom Diaries will become a reality.
In the next post I tried to work out my approach, and then I promptly stopped. Totally bogged down in the muck of those old journals. No, that's not quite right. Totally bogged down in justthinking about wading through the muck of those old journals. I really and truly just stopped the blog.
In late July an email from someone I'd never met landed in my in-box. Someone who had somehow read my abandoned Freedom Diaries blog, the very blog that I thought was invisible to internet searchers and surfers. (It turns out I only thought I had chosen those options but never actually activated them!) The email let me know that at least one person out there in cyberspace wanted to hear more about this story. She had even left a comment on my first post: "Please keep writing...reveal more." Music to this blogger's ears and heart.
But for whatever reason I got scared, and went back into hiding. Like the proverbial groundhog, I had actually cast a shadow, had dared to stick my neck out into the light of day and had enough substance to be seen by someone, and back underground I went.
Fast forward several weeks to early September. On September 6, perhaps in the spirit of a new school year starting, I wrote: "I don't exactly know what's going on here, but I find myself wanting to resurrect this blog."
I even wrote two posts on the same day, and then another, then two more, and it seemed as if I was rolling. But I had deliberately once again kept the blog under wraps (or so I thought). I was enjoying just writing in blog form for my eyes only (or so I thought).
But it turns out that some things aren't what I think they are when it comes to Blogger's blogging platform (if that's the right term). It didn't occur to me that certain things that apply to one of my blogs would also apply to another one. And so while I thought I was writing and even "publishing" blogs for my eyes only, some of my followers of Trusting Delight were getting emailed versions of Freedom Diaries delivered to their in-boxes. Which I didn't know until after I had published several totally unguarded, supposedly "private" posts.
Again, I beat a hasty retreat and returned several of the posts to "draft" status, thereby removing them from the eyes of random internet surfers and friends alike. And I felt pretty stupid, really. I even wrote a post about being a "techno-ignoramus with techno-egg on my face." Though I also vowed not to beat myself up over it.
Slowly it dawned on me. There are at least two ways to look at this strange trail of events. One is to see this as a story of my hesitation and timidity and desire to hide, and, yes, my obvious incompetence with certain aspects of blogdom.
The other is to imagine that this is a story that wants to be told, a story whose time has come. Or, to take a more active ownership in all of this, to imagine that for all of my conscious desire to hide the story, to test it out and then retreat, twice, there's another part of me that must really want this story to be told and that really wants me to be the teller of it because I alone can be the teller of it and the creator of it.
Maybe it's kinda like old Jeremiah, who tried to refrain from speaking for and about God, and discovered that when he did so, "there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot." Maybe. Some kind of cyber-Jeremiah. (Hmmm....interesting idea, a blog written as if the blog of Jeremiah, or Jesus, or Mary... I'm sure someone's done that already. You think?)
Except in this case it's not a matter of speaking for God (I tried that for 22 years); it's about speaking for myself. To step out of the shadows and into light, out of hiding, to become visible, finally, as I tell the unfolding story of my journey from living by the rules and "being good" to living (more or less) free and being happy, from Episcopal priest to free-lance human being.
I am quite sure that this is not going to be a chronological account of my story. It will swing back and forth from present to past and back again. I don't plan to try to make this a smooth and seamless narrative, but to let it emerge as it will, blogpost by blogpost. As I've said before, I'll just have to give it a go and see what happens. And I always reserve the right to adapt and change as I go along.