The Importance of The Blogging Community

I thought I would take a minute a try to post something a little different, which I feel is important to share. I am not going to lie, it sure seems apropos with what is going on in our country today. However, this post isn’t intended to analyze or promote any political point of view. I will say that it is hard to look at what is happening and not feel appalled, saddened, concerned, and just plain confused. My message and story, however, are very relatable.

About 10 days ago, my blogger friend Erica shared that an airline had lost her bags while traveling to Europe.  More than that, the airline refused to help her locate her bags or have any contact with her. She asked if anyone was willing to help her to get cooperation from the airline in locating her bags. Without even a second thought, I jumped into the fray! After reading Erica’s repeated attempts to reach the airline and some of its customer reviews, I decided to take the fight to their social media page and give it everything I had. Over the following three days I hit the airline’s social media accounts with every shot I could think of in order to get their attention. I even had their attention on the first day after I was contacted to find out why I was blasting their account. Sadly it didn’t last very long and that account went radio silent when I continued to send messages.

The airline stayed quiet instead of responding to any questions regarding where in the world Erica’s bags may have been. Despite the overwhelming silence I stayed the course and unleashed a volley of messages, to show that I wouldn’t be deterred.  Actually, they were only strengthening my resolve to fight for my friend who was at the end of her rope for good reason.

Just two days before Erica was set to return home without her bags the airline finally replied. Not only did they reply, but for the first time with useful information and not the company line. Was it possible the airline had seen the light? Did the airline want to do the right thing? Was Erica going to actually to see her suitcase again? By all accounts it seemed like this couldn’t be real, however, the airline found her bags and she had them back within minutes of arriving home.

Before I get to my point, let me share a little bit of backstory on how Erica and I became friends. I started Patrick’s Table in February 2015 and within a few months I found Everything Erica. I began to follow and comment on her photos and stories. No matter what she posted about I was able to find something to comment on or share regarding those posts, which became more frequent over a period of time and Erica began to respond back. This became the normal routine and after awhile I playfully mentioned that I wanted to fly out to Chicago and meet her one day. Not only that, but I started to notice that her social media crew was beginning to follow me as well, keeping an eye on the content I continued to produce for my own blog.  Our friendship via social media was alive and well, but that visit needed to happen. In April 2016, after teasing an impending visit, I made it happen. I had a wonderful time in Chicago and enjoyed having a friendly dinner with Erica and some of her crew while in the Windy City. Our friendship is now stronger than ever and I am glad to have her as part of my life.

Why am I sharing all of this? First, because life is very unexpected and has a strange way of coming full circle. You never know how you might be able to provide support to those that you don’t see or interact with every day. Community, friends, and relationships are so much bigger than anything else we may encounter in this world. Bigger than Instagram, WordPress, Snapchat or the content we create for our individual blogs. The people we care about, the things we fight for, and the things we value are what make us who we are. That is why our medium is so powerful. We bring people together over distant continents, with likes or dislikes, opinions, fears, food, drink, faith, life lessons, shared passions or hobbies, and even through sharing our own insecurity. How? Because we have each other. We have community. Even thousands of miles away we always have each other.

What I learned while helping Erica locate her bag is that sometimes fighting for others can bring us the greatest joy in life. Let me be clear, this isn’t about ego at all. In fact, it is about truly being present and recognizing that you can always do more to help others, and sometimes in unexpected ways. It is so easy to take for granted the people and things we have in our lives — and as someone who has lost family and friends over the years, I treasure the ways many of my nearest and dearest brighten up my life, and hopefully I do the same for them! Spread more affection out there in the world and less hatred or ignorance, try to see the ways to build connections with others — even online — as community can truly bring out the best things in our lives and the lives of others.

As unexpected thank you, Erica sent me a gift she had made for me while she was in Europe. So, if you want to see what it is, then comment on this post, “surprise.” If you guys respond then I will open it, maybe even live to share it with you. Keep in mind, I haven’t opened the package yet. However, I want to be perfectly transparent, I did see a teaser video of what this gift could be. Therefore, I know what it is, but haven’t seen it completed.

So, send me an email, post a comment or find me on Instagram @patricks_table. Also, make sure you are following me dear friend, Erica, @everythingerica on Instagram. Trust me, you want to be following her! She is amazing!!