Monday, June 25, 2007


For those of you who do a lot of email, you might know the title does not refer to Ireland, but the term "in real life". Real life, that is, as opposed to in the virtual world of email and cyberspace.

I realized yesterday that my life has taken a shift recently away from my cyber-relationships and into my "real life" relationships.

For as long as I can remember I have held my breath waiting for mail delivery. It used to be just once a day that I got to breathe, but of course in recent years, I can check or make mail come to me every 60 seconds or so. I hear that little "bum-pum" sound that announces my mail and feel a tiny little satisfaction in me that someone (or something) somewhere is trying to interact with me.

Maybe it has just been the course of life, or maybe it is God's special design (you think?), but I have found myself drawn into real life relationships in the last few weeks. Now, let's admit it -- I'm an "at home" mom, and many days my social interactions are primarily with my children. Occasionally dh and I can have a conversation when we're both home, awake, and fed. Occasionally I interact with librarians, store clerks, passersby, acquaintances at Mass, neighbors. But those interactions are rarely on the relationship level.

I'm drawn for another reason. It's hard. Tell me I'm not the only one. It is hard for me to interact with other people IRL. I don't always know what to say, or if it is ok for me to say it, or how to break into a conversation, or if I've left gracefully enough or if I'm hanging around too long, boring someone or leaving them wondering what the heck I'm trying to say.

It's an area of a lot of potential growth for me. I can clack off my thoughts on my keyboard with ease. Whether it is an email or blog post or elsewhat, I rarely struggle for words for more than a few seconds. If it is a conversation, I might plan it or rehash it again for days.

I'm also finding IRL people, avenues, who address real concerns for me. Real concerns meaning the things I take to cyberspace to find answers for. The Communion and Liberation group I've been attending (and its hostess) have been instrumental in hearing God's direction for me. My Vacation Bible School experience, my visiting friend, interactions with neighbors, all have dovetailed into this IRL directional pull. Even seeing my dh at the computer, and instead of thinking "he's connecting to the vitality of the world", thinking "he's not talking to me", all goes into the mix.

It's summer after all. I always feel more able to be social when it is warm and I don't have to struggle just to stay warm and alive.

But all that said, still need the retreat into what is easy for me to process what is harder.


Willa said...

I have a hard time feeling confident and competent IRL. So I can relate to what you say. I have to realize that online conversation is my comfort zone in a way that IRL socializing is not. Knowing this, I can plan for IRL occasions and accept that they will drain my energy and that I will need some space and time to restore that.

Suzanne said...

I didn't see this when you first posted it, Marie, but now that you've shown it to me, I see that my comment in my last email wasn't so very revolutionary! All I can say is what I know in my bones to be true: the Good Shepherd calls us all by name, exactly as we are, and he loves us, exactly as we are. It's not his will that we constantly seeking to "improve" ourselves. He wants us to remember that we have all we need in every situation that we face. It is my very real and deep honor to know you IRL!