Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bend in the Road

I was a bit lax in my blog reading over Sunday and Monday this week. As a result, when I got around to trying to clear out my reader yesterday morning, I came across a post done on Monday that really threw me for a heck of a loop.

There -Jeff Bach of A Word in Edgewise had posted something that really made me very, very sad to read.

For the second time since I began blogging about 3 1/2 years ago now, the unthinkable has happened.

Another of my favorite bloggers has has reached that bend in the road of life that takes each of us out of here, eventually, someday -just hopefully not soon.

About two years ago, I got an e-mail from the sister of one of my then favorite bloggers -Bob Johnson -a gentleman from Alberta, Canada who wrote some of the absolute best -and funniest -stuff ever. What's more, I had come to "know" Bob via his blog and through many e-mails we exchanged away from the blog scene too.

And that day when I received an e-mail from his sister telling me he had collapsed and died the day before of a massive heart attack, I sat here at my computer and the tears poured forth.

It felt as if I had lost my best friend and yet, I'd never met the man in person, never spoken to him on the phone -just communicated, compared notes on silly things, serious things, and yes, sad things too. But this had an affect on me I really had never considered. After all, people would tell me, you really never knew him so how could this affect you in such a way as this?

Well I would argue, I did KNOW him! His voice came to me by his words, his passing on of information he had gathered about blogging, about writing, about raising kids too and oh, so many things.

And yes, I will gladly say here that I loved him just as I loved various friends, neighbors, family members too I dare say that had all gone on before him. And I had lost a friend, and a darned good one, at that.

Now there I was yesterday reading Jeff's post in which I learned that the blog community had lost another of the those folks who become that same kind of friend -just as Bob Johnson had been to me before.

This time I guess I was slightly prepared for this as I knew the gentleman this time had been battling a lot of health issues -very serious, bad health concerns with his lungs, his heart -and yet, he had kept up as much as possible with postings to his blog whenever he was able.

This man was Dr. John Linna and his blog - Dr. John's Fortress -was a blog I had come upon sometime or other in the past year and had added him immediately then to my reader as I saw in his posts, in his words, his voice, a fellow blogger who used so many ways to entice readers to his place and once there, you couldn't help but learn to love his wisdom as he would share his faith with us there.

Dr. John -as he was known here -had been, in his work life, an ordained Lutheran minister but don't let that fool you into thinking his posts were all just about the church, ministry, faith, God and all those things because they were -but they weren't that too!

No, instead he wrote in a way that showed a true Christian spirit -of course, that was his profession but he also wrote things that showed in a non-threatening way how he came to be the man he was up to the end of his life.

As a fellow Lutheran too -but not necessarily the best member of our parish here as I don't get there for every service, am not always able to be the strong member, working in every way possible to help our church stay alive and even grow -I came to look forward to his sermons each Sunday, even though on some days I had actually made it out of the house and to services here at our little church.

Frequently, on those occasions, I could see that his mind, as he had worked his sermon from what ever was the recommended Bible chapter/verse for that particular day, along the same lines as had our minister -Pastor Carrie -had done here too. And the way he presented the "story" of the day, was always done in such a manner that it made it very easy to understand what Christ was trying to teach us with His Words too then.

Dr. John often wrote a continuing saga too about a little town called Pigeon Falls -an interesting place that existed in his mind and through that serial, he continued to teach various other things too.

He ranted from time to time about the quirky things life brings to all of us -railing against politics, even occasionally at politicians from time to time but in a more gentle chiding manner -not really raising the roof the way some of the rest of us might be inclined to do.

He wrote those nifty little things that came under the heading of "Flash Fisction" ( A bit of prose in which you present a story in 55 words.) And some of these stories he wrote were really terrific! Short, sweet -to the point, for sure! I admire anyone who can drive a point home in that amount of words. It's certainly something I doubt I'll ever be able to do though.

But anyway, Dr. John died Monday morning, enroute to the emergency room.

His widow, Betty, with whom he had shared his life for many, many years is now, in her own words, "Numb."

And that I definitely do understand.

She too has a blog -right here - and if you ever read Dr. John's posts, or if you just glanced across his blog here today and enjoyed what you read, or if you'd just like to perhaps pass along a word of faith and love to her that might just help her through this very difficult period of her life, please stop by and tell her that.

And to Dr. John -this is just a bend in the road where you are traveling now, before us -to perhaps help prepare the way too just as a man from Galilee did 2000 years ago but in a much more specific way.

Your words, your counsel, your friendly admonishments at times too -will stay with me as will the friendship I truly felt with you from having found you in this family of so many wonderful friends via blogging!

God be with us all until we meet again -and yes, I do firmly believe that will happen someday.

Your presence though here was felt by many and your words greatly missed by all.



Suldog said...

My condolences, Jeni. I didn't read the man, but I know exactly what you mean when you speak of our 'family' of bloggers. And I don't know why I put that in quotation marks, either - we are family, in the nicest sense of that word.

In any case, I can think of 15 bloggers, without any effort at all, for whom I would shed heavy tears if they were no longer with us. I'm sure the actual number is much higher and I'm just forgetting some family members whom I shouldn't have...

In any case, I'm sorry.

Linda said...

I totally agree with Suldog as there are so many bloggers that have become like family to me - people whose lives are so much a part of mine now that I would be desolate to lose any of them.

Sometimes I think that we actually get to know people even better through blogging than we would if we shared an office with them as people just seem to be more open when they blog. At least that's been my experience.

My condolences on the loss of your friend. I hope you don't have to read too many posts like that anytime soon.

terri said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. I completely agree that our online friends are every bit as real and as loved as our "real-life" friends. And such a loss is understandably just as difficult as any other loss of a loved one.