When I first started blogging in May of 2007 I would write about my faith, but that was not really the focus of the blog. Mostly I blogged about politics back then, but I did find myself soon thrust into the midst of a wonderful world of Episcopalian/Anglican bloggers. So much of who I am and what I do out here is because of this diverse group of people. If you did check out that link from August, you will see me with a few of my Episcopal friends.
Yesterday I had the chance to meet yet another one of them, Brian Ralph, who authors the blog Noble Wolf. For those of you who do not know Brian, he is a retired teacher. He was living in the Blue Mountains, outside of Sydney, Australia, who recently moved to Dunedin, New Zealand. He is in the midst of a pretty significant around the world trip and his travels brought him through Albany for a day. Speaking of all of this, I do urge a visit to Brian's blog to read about his amazing trip through Europe, including Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.
As with so many blogger meet ups, it was an easy connection to just start talking. We already knew a fair amount about each others lives, including faith, family and travel history! Brian has the most engaging smile and a very warm heart.
Our first stop (but of course!) was a church, St. Peter's Episcopal. We walked all around the Capital, Empire State Plaza and in and around some of the city streets. This is The Egg, a famous Albany performing arts venue and visual landmark. We tried to see the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, but it is still undergoing renovations and was not open.
Honestly, I have spent almost no time in Albany - seriously. How sad is that!? I have not been to The Egg and I had never (hangs head in shame) walked around Empire State Plaza before. For the record, I have also never been to the Cathedral before either - I know, go figure!
So it took a visit from a gentleman from halfway around the world to get me there!
It was so easy to talk with Brian. We talked about many things - his trip, our blogging roots and connections, his recent move from Australia to New Zealand. We spoke of many common blogging friends like Grandmere Mimi, Fr. Bosco Peters, Doxy, Paul, Jack and Mad Priest. We talked about people who don't really blog any more but who we think so highly of, such as Alcibiades and Dan. (Dan's blog is not there anymore!)
Brian and I spent a lot of time talking about how important our faith is to each of us and how there are many challenges to our faith practices. I expressed how grateful I was to be here in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and how my current job and grad school pursuits are truly the work of grace. Brian talked about the hypocrisy he encountered and his experiences among the Sydney Anglicans and how different it is to be in Dunedin. He also spoke at length about his work and how accepted he was among Catholics when he taught at a Catholic school in Sydney.
What a strange and wonderful thing this all is and I am very grateful for all the people that I have met via blogging and Facebook. The irony of all this is that I was supposed to have coffee yesterday with another person I met online and who lives in Albany, Maureen. I had to postpone that because of Brian's visit. And I consider that I am still figuring out how to have a meet up (although we did meet briefly) with Mary DeTurris Poust who lives locally. And how that even though we have tried, Dan Sloan and I have yet to have a proper meet up... He lives 3 hours away, Brian lives almost 9000 miles away! Brian did not realize that Dan was in NYC or he would have tried to connect with him too.
Well I have rambled on and on here. In summation, a fine time was had and I continue to consider social media my mission field. I'm not here to convert you, but I will say, you - all of you - pretty much always convert me.
What a gift! Happy and safe travels Brian!