A Real Life Hug Between Virtual Friends

February 3, 2017


real life versus virtual friendships

As a young child, I had a pen pal. Her name was Leonie and she lived in Australia. I don't remember exactly how old I was, third, maybe fourth grade? Our class had written letters to her class and then they wrote back to us. Our words traveled across oceans par avian and while Leonie and I never actually met, we formed quite a friendship and continued to correspond for several years.

To a kid who had barely traveled outside of her home state, it was all very enchanting to think that I was speaking to someone who was quite literally halfway around the world and had become friends with a person that I had never met.

And quiet possibly would never, ever meet.

Of course, that notion seems quaint today. With the advent of social media I think it's safe to say that just about everyone has a friend or two who they have never actually met in real life, or IRL, as they say.

Relationships are built and carried out in a completely virtual state.

There is no breaking of bread, hearty pats on the back or handshakes.

Any yet.

You can still get hugged.

Warm and wonderful and supportive hugs, that are just as comforting as physical ones, despite the the miles between between friends.

A couple of years ago, I was going through a rough patch. I didn't want to talk about it too much. I dealt with it by putting one foot in front of the other and writing about it.

But not about it.

My posts were nuanced. They were about scary months and unexpected journeys. Not my usual DIY fare.

Most people never picked up on it.

However, my friend Nancy, sent me a simple comment and gently asked if I was ok. She had sensed a tone and wanted me to know that if I ever needed to chat she was there. She didn't push, she didn't pry, she simply offered an ear and closed her note with Hugs, Nancy.

She always signed off that way, but until that day, I never really thought anything about it. I mean, I sign off with a smile, others use an xo, I just wrote it off as her preferred signature.

Suddenly, it felt like so much more.

As the weeks went on, I opened up a little to her, without disclosing details, I emailed her and she emailed back. She sent the sweetest messages and always seemed to know exactly what to say and when to say it. Plus her notes always seemed to arrive on days when I had a moment of weak faith.

Emails with hugs.

When the storm had passed, I sent Nancy an email, thanking her for her support and friendship, explaining just how much her correspondence had meant to me, but somehow it just didn't feel like enough.

What I wanted to send her was a hug of my own.

The problem was, I had no idea how to send mine through the mail and not even par avian could help me this time.

I thought about her likes, her interests, her own work as a devotional writer, but nothing jumped out at me no matter how hard I tried.

Then one day, we took the kids to the book store. On a whim I walked through the gift section, with Nancy in mind, and there on the table was a devotional book entitled Hugs. I peeked and tucked inside were 365 days of hugs. In words, from one writer to another. It was perfect.

Divine intervention no doubt.

I was so smitten, I was going to buy a copy for myself, but the kids wanted coffee and I got distracted, so I left with just one copy for Nancy, content with my gift.

She was super gracious when she received her hug and I was super happy knowing that I was able to finally, hug her back.

She spoke so highly of the book, I decided that I should go back and get my own. Well, guess what? Just a few days later it was already totally sold out. Sold out in the store, sold out online, checked out at the library.

Grrr.

Occasionally, over the last year, I have checked the book store again without any luck and by the time I got home to order online...well, out of sight, out of mind.

Then one day, just a few weeks ago, I received an email from Nancy. Turns out, she was the lucky recipient of another new copy of Hugs this holiday season.

She's apparently very huggable.

Anyway, she was wondering if I was ever able to find a copy and if not, would I like one? My mouth dropped open. I read the email to my husband and we both laughed.

You see, my husband knows about my friendship with Nancy. In fact, he often refers to her as my guardian angel, as she has helped to reaffirm my faith, she always pops up with what I need, just when I need it and because we have never met in real life.

He has actually questioned her very existence, when trying to prove his point.

I show him her blog, her photo and her emails. His response is alway the same.

"But have you ever actually met her?"

"Well, not in person, but..."

"And I bet you never will."

And he's probably right, but not because she has wings. Although I will not dispute that she is an angel.

It's really a lot more mundane than that. I live on one coast, she on the other. I am not big on flying and have kids to mind, she seems pretty content in her newly built cottage with her charming artist husband and quiet country life.

But that doesn't mean we can't exchange hugs on a regular basis.

Real, genuine, meaningful hugs.

Thank you, Nancy. ❤

virtual friendships can be closer that ones in real life

Have you been hugged today?





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Sharing today: Between Naps On The Porch

62 comments:

  1. What a sweet tribute to your friend! I truly believe the blogging friendships forged are truly one of the best perks!

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    1. Absolutely agree! An unexpected perk indeed!! :)

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  2. Hi Kim! I'm glad you have someone to send you hugs. It's nice. I have a few of those friends. I'm very lucky. Blessed, even.

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    1. Thanks Nancy...and I always appreciate the hugs you send me via blog comments and Facebook. They mean a lot! :)

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  3. a wonderful post.
    I adore my marine. who is my only brother for those who never read the peanut.
    but all my life I had wondered what it would be like to have a sister. I would hear girls talk who had one or two or more... and it sounded so wonderful!
    and now. because of the internet and experiences similar to yours with nancy... I have at least three that I consider my real true sisters. and it's so wonderful. and if I never meet them in person... that's a mere minor point in our lives and love and support of each other.
    this is one of the wonderful things about the internet! i'm so happy we have it in our lives.

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    1. Tammy, isn't blogging wonderful? If someone had told me years ago that I would form relationships with people across the world, I never would've believed it. I am so glad it provided you the opportunity to find your sisters!! :)

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  4. Hi, I have been in a very low place in the past and I received a Hug from a long lost high school friend. It meant the world to me to receive her letter (pre Internet). We have stayed in contact and my son and I visit her and her children twice a year. Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoy your blog!!

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    1. Maryellen, thank you for sharing your story. Those small gestures mean so much, don't they? I love that actually visit and now your children are friends, too. Now that's a very special connection. I really appreciate the time you took to comment and leave me a sweet compliment. You have just made my night! Hugs to you! : )

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  5. Kim, that is such a wonderful event. My first reaction was to say it was a wonderful story, but that would sound as if it weren't real. I don't think we have to meet in actuality to become friends. Friends that care and share with and for each other. If you are fortunate to have people around you that you can feel and touch and that care about and love you in return then it just seems natural to put those feelings on to others, whether you are able to meet in real life or not. I would like to send hugs to you over the miles..Happy Weekend..xxoJudy

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    1. Why thank you, Judy! I am sending hugs right back to you. I feel very lucky to have made so many wonderful connections through blogging. And you're right, it was a very special exchange and when the book arrived, my daughter was with me I said, mom you have to write about this. So I did...

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  6. Dear Kim ... Such beautiful words for a very special friendship. I too, "chat" with Nancy and she is so sweet and I feel blessed to call her my friend as well. Kim, you are a precious soul and I feel a special friendship to you as well. I am so thankful for like minded women ... kindred hearts. We all have so much to be thankful for. We all need encouragement from time to time. Warmest Hugs ♥ Teri

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    1. Thank you so much, Teri. I am touched by your kind comment, I am thankful for your friendship and always enjoy our chats. The power of mere words, huh, who knew? ;)

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  7. Hi Kim,
    Oh my, what a lovely post. Nancy is a mentor, I agree. She has helped me as of late as well.
    And you have helped so much as well. As I shared with you about Atticus' health issues, your care and concern are genuine, we may not be face to face, but I can feel it.
    Another great post Kim!!
    Have a blessed weekend,
    Carla

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    1. I can feel it, too, Carla, you are right. So many lovely friends sharing care and concern...and I am glad if I was able to send some comfort your way. Thank you for the comment, my friend. xo

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  8. I am so glad Nancy was there for you Kim, we all need friends that we can lean on when life gets tough. Sounds like she has been gifted a heart of compassion ☺

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  9. Wonderful post Kim . . .
    Such a sweet message . . .
    I find you and also Nancy authentic, kind, caring, faithful . . .
    Happy the HUGS are being sent and felt by each of you.

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. I say a round of happy HUGS all around!! :)

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  10. What a wonderful, wonderful story, Kim. There are so many people in this world that we interact with but few that really 'get it'....that understand that while we might need advice that what we really crave is just a good hug- one soul to another. God bless you and your friend. I don't know her but think I have to go look her up now. xo Diana

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    1. You are so right, Diana and the older I get to the more I realize that proximity to a person does not always need to be part of the equation. A true friendship and connection is built on so much more...thank you for your wise and kind comment. Hugs to you, Diana.

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  11. Oh- Just realized what Nancy you are talking about! lol She IS a gem!!!! Love her new 'little house'. She is a really good person. xo Diana

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  12. Kim it is truly amazing how God puts people in our paths when we need them the most. I feel that way about you my sweet friend. You have been there for me so many times over these past few years at the most difficult of times. So you have payed it forward to me what Nancy gifted to you. That is what is so beautiful about sharing hearts through this crazy land of blogging. You can have true angel friends in virtual land. I know Nancy too and she is just a beautiful angel inside and out. So happy she was there for you when you needed her most. Hugs hugs and more hugs to you too.
    Kris

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    1. Kris you are so sweet and your words humble me. I think our friendships tend to be mutually beneficially, we give and we get. I am glad that I have been able to support you, but I truly feel that I have been the one receiving kindness. And a cute mug!! Hugs and hugs to you my friend. xoxo

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  13. What a great story! You are truly blessed to have Nancy in your life and I am sure she is blessed by you too! I think I want to order a few of those books to give to girlfriends that I have met! I have one going through a hard time right now. Timely post!

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    1. Blessed indeed and I highly recommend the book, AnnMarie. Even my kids love it and that says a lot!! Have a great Saturday! :)

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  14. Tears filled my eyes as I read this post. Truth is stranger than fiction, I always say. How amazing that you never found the book for yourself, because the Lord knew one day the hug you sent Nancy would be returned! Nancy is such a precious soul, and we really don't live too terribly far apart. If I ever make it down to her state, she is someone I would love to meet one day. We have shared much too, in the years I have known her. What a blessing this blogging journey is. And how awesome that your husband knows, without a doubt that our blogging friends are real genuine amazing people who care, love and share their hearts generously. I have been blessed by your friendship too Kim. I treasure you as a very special friend, who I may never meet, but our hearts are in unison many times as we share back and forth. Isn't that wonderful! Such a blessing. Big hugs to you today my friend :)

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    1. What a heartfelt and lovely comment, Marilyn. You know at first, I wasn't going to share the story. I thought the book exchange was an amazing coincidence considering the millions of books that are out there for Nancy to have received...twice...but when my teenage daughter opened the package with the book inside her mouth dropped open. She said, mom, you have to share. I am so glad that I did. I do feel blessed, not only by Nancy's gift of friendship, but by so many other's as well, including my dear friend, yours. I think there is something special, this building of friendships through the written word, pieces of our lives and common interests. They are friendships of choice and not convenience or proximity. What could be stronger than that? :) Hugs to you!!

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  15. I too loved this story! You were meant to have that hugs book after all and I'm so glad you receive from your sweet blog friend. :) I will have to look up your friend and the book as I love and crave hugs. Take care.
    Julie xo

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    1. Well, they always say there are no coincidences and I guess that's true! Here's a hug from me to you, Julie! Have a great weekend. :)

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  16. Hugs are an important part of my life...real ones and expressed ones! Thank you for your blogs!...HUGS, norma

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    1. I'm with you Norma...real or expressed, hugs are awesome. Thank you for your super sweet comment. THAT was a great hug! ;)

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  17. Kim what a sweet story on so many levels :)

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    1. Thanks for popping by to read it, Deb! : )

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  18. That must be a really good devotional book. I love the story about how it will come back to you now. I have several internet friends that I've never met. My hubby laughs when I talk about them, too.

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    1. I love the book, but the story behind it even more. When I read it, I feel even more connected to my friend. Husbands are funny aren’t they? Boys…they just don’t get it! ;)

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  19. Such a great post. We need Nancy's in our life, don't we? I'm thankful for mine.

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    1. I'm glad you have a Nancy, too, Deanna! Thanks so much for commenting. Have a great weekend! :)

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  20. I loved this story! What a beautiful friendship, even if you two haven't met each other in real life. I don't know Nancy and I'm not familiar with her blog, but I'm going to pay her a visit. Hope you are having a lovely weekend, Kim! :-)

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    1. You will love her blog, Melanie. She features the sweetest cottages every Saturday. I look forward to it every week!

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  21. Dear sweet friend, I have a lump in my throat. I never imagined when I hit "publish" on my first blog post that it would lead me eventually to someone like you. How could I know that God had planned our meeting long before the internet was every invented? I thank you for these loving words. You are an amazing woman, and I'm so blessed to know you. There aren't enough words in the world that can adequately express how much I appreciate you. Hugs, Nancy

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    1. Nancy, you truly are a very special lady and as evidenced by the comments, I am but one among many who feel this way. You are the amazing woman, obviously touching so many lives in such an important way. My mom used to say that we have many acquaintances in this life, but very, very few true friends. The older I get the more I realize just how true that statement is. I just never considered the possibility that people could become so connected without ever meeting face to face. I consider myself blessed. Hugs to you!! xoxo

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  22. I love how certain people come into our lives when we need them most. Like little God winks, if you will. Nancy truly is your guardian angel. I love this little blogging community. :)

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    1. I love this little community, too, Lisa! It's so funny, when you think about how many millions of blogs are out there, it's amazing that so many deep connections do indeed happen. :)

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  23. I've made some strong, blog friendships, you definitely included, and each one has been such a blessing in my life. You were each so available with lots of hugs and prayers when I was sick. My hubby finally understood what this blogging community was all about when sweet gifts and cards started rolling in during a very difficult time for he and I. Treasure those blogging friendships!

    Warm hugs,
    Carol

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    1. I certainly do treasure them all, Carol, including yours!! xo

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  24. Our little blogging world is an amazing place. I've been on the receiving side of Nancy's thoughtful comments and it only takes one to realize she's truly a special lady. So glad you have found your guardian angel. :)

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    1. …and online through blogging! Who would’ve guessed! ;)

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  25. Oh how I believe every word of this tribute to blog friendships! And I am not surprised that Nancy was so intuitive as to know you could use a friend at that particular moment. I believe I am one of your commenters' "adopted" sisters and I thank God for her. While many sweet blog friends kept in touch with me through months of unhappiness, it was this particular friend and another dear one who I constantly vented to--for after all, one just can't go around crying to everyone! These two listened and prayed and believed and encouraged and then rejoiced with me when prayers were answered. I have true blood sisters who I adore and love more and more with each passing year but these two blog sisters are that to me too.

    So virtual friends are as real as real can be! You can pass that on to your husband, Kim! I am so glad Nancy's heart heard yours.

    Dewena

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    1. Virtual friends are real as real can be...perfectly put, Dewena. I am so glad that you had a pair to lean on when you needed them. After all, a girl can never have too many sisters!! ; )

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  26. Beautiful story Nancy! I have had pen pals also and indeed one feels close to someone one never met. So nice that your friend also had a copy of "Hugs" for you. It sounds like a great devotional. Every year in church we have an exchange with our "secret sister" and devotionals always makes great gifts. I will take a look at Amazon and see if I can get one for my next "secret sister." Thank you for this post! Happy Valentine's Day!!

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    1. It’s a great book, Angela and one I can see myself reading year after year. It’s only February and I have already reread many pages!! I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day! Thanks for the visit! :)

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  27. I think that is such a sweet story! And a great book! While there are so many bad things in this crazy world of internet and technology, it is awesome to find the great things about it like virtual friends....people with whom you instantly bond and yes, they are friends, whether you've met them in person or not. They are placed in our lives for a reason and become a true blessing to us! Love and hugs sweet friend!

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    1. Thank you Benita and yes, quite refreshing indeed. :)

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  28. I don't know you, I don't know your friend... but while treading your post my tears came in my eyes.. I felt that you were in front of me and telling your story.. Hope everything is ok now.. big hug.. XOXO...

    Please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Krishna. Your words have made my day! :)

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  29. This is a beautiful post, Kim, I had a tear in my eye by the end. There is such beautiful power in the friendship of women.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. I totally agree, Amalia. Too many people want to speak about the division and cattiness. I prefer to focus on the wonderful relationships instead. :)

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  30. What a beautiful tribute! Friendship truly is a beautiful thing.

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    1. Is really is, Lynn...and not defined by the miles in between.

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  31. A heartfelt trubute, as only you can write Kim.

    Here's my hugs :).

    XXX

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    1. Thank you, Doreen! Sending many right back to you!! :)

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