Community Treasures

I had the best conversation Monday morning. One of my favorite bloggy friends gave me a call, and though we’ve never officially met (I stood close to her once when we were both waiting for appointments with editors/agents at a conference a couple of years ago–though I recognized her from her blog I was too shy to introduce myself. Still kicking myself.) there wasn’t a pause in the conversation once. In fact, I think we could have talked for another hour. I felt just as refreshed as if we’d sat down at the kitchen table together and chatted over coffee.

This sweet visit got me to thinking about community, and how online communities have evolved. And that got me to thinking about my online community and the host of amazing folks I have met there.

Take Gordon Atkinson, for example. Gordon is one of our Founding Editors over at High Calling Blogs. I’ve always enjoyed reading Gordon’s articles on faith–he has a matter-of-fact way of writing about vulnerability that exposes the humanity in us all. He’s an excellent writer on all things God (and I’m guessing a stellar pastor–but you’ll have to ask the folks at Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio about that) but it wasn’t his faith writings that captured my attentions recently.

Not too long ago, Gordon dropped a line in one of our ongoing online group conversations that made me realize the stuff he is made of.

I fell into depression in 2004 and 2005.

We’re trying to get to each other better in this community, and by way of introduction, he offered those words in between a couple of lines about writing. It seemed a casual mention, almost in passing.

But they screamed to me.

In that simple statement I felt the devastation this silent epidemic can cause. As a mental health professional I understand just a little bit of the need to increase awareness about this illness.

My curiosity led me over to Gordon’s blog, where I discovered a whole series of writings on living through depression. He calls it “The Depression Stuff” and you can find right here. If you or someone you love has ever struggled with this illness, you’ll applaud Gordon’s frankness in sharing his experience.

While you’re over there, you might check into his books and other topics too.

I’ll be introducing you to some other members of our community in the next couple of weeks. You know how it is…When you find something good, the first thing you want to do is share it, right? Well, I’m looking forward to sharing some interesting folks with you.

Until then, many blessings!


  1. says

    Some say that we can’t have true community out here on the World Wide Web. But true community includes people who are willing to tap out the words that Gordon wrote:

    “I fell into depression.”

    I’ve been a part of in-the-flesh communities that have been unwilling to go to that depth of honesty.

    Gordon is a terrific writer who has that incredible ability to write something so the reader stops in her tracks and says: “Hey, I recognize myself there.”

    I like that in a writer.

    I’ve shared Gordon’s writings with some of my off-line friends and my college students, too. We sat down one night over at the neighbors’ house a while back and went through post after post.

    Thanks for sharing, Laura. And what a splendid idea to introduce us to your friends.

  2. says

    Wow. I’m returning comments today. Reading posts and catching up with those who have left such kindness on my blog and in my life in the last weeks.

    I keep getting stopped. I can’t merely leave bright comments and thank-you’s. It is as if God has timed these posts for me.

    I’m not doing so well today. Just doing. I’ve been happier in the last few weeks than I have in a long time. But the depression is still here, physical, trying to separate.

    I’ll be visiting Gordon today. Thank you for this. Thank you for knowing and caring and making room for us who struggle with this.

  3. says

    Isn’t it amazing how GOD uses all our “stuff” to help each other.
    Thank you for all your sweet comments on arise 2 write. I am blessed beyond belief by knowing you. I am thankful GOD brought you into my life via the blog world.

  4. says

    I’m no stranger to depression.

    It’s not something I’ve written or posted about, but it’s familiar enough for me to know the signs now, and to recognize the circumstances that can lead me right into it. And there’s a lot of discomfort in the church even today about talking about it. Yet it’s part of broken lives in a broken world. Thanks, Laura, to you and to Gordon.

  5. says

    This is exactly one of the reasons that I love the RLR as well. It is great to see that kind of transparency in people, but especially great when you can connect with them like we do online.

  6. says

    The pleasure is all mine; when I begin to consider all that I would have missed out on should I have “chucked” this blogging thing into the trash, I am stunned by God’s provision on my behalf.

    You are part of that rich circle for me, Laura. What a joy to know you and to walk alongside you in this pilgrimage of grace.

    You are a very good person to have in this world. And for the record, I could kick you for not kicking me that day…


  7. says

    Those words stood out to me, too, Laura. I really and truly stopped reading at that point, because they hit–BAM–and I had to process it. Love his honesty. We *need* his honesty. Because we need…honesty.

    And I think I’m beginning to grow in my appreciation of community potential via technology. It can happen.

    If we’re honest.

    Thank you for being honest, and introducing your readers to someone who leads us in it.

    I’m so humbled and grateful to be on this team….

  8. says

    That line stood out to me too. I kept turning it over in my mind. Thinking about how I was glad he said it. Because saying something like that gives others permission to be real. (Maybe that’s the true meaning of the “Real” in Real Live Preacher 🙂

  9. says

    Laura, thank you about this. I find that depression is so often swept under the rug. Particularly in my church community. It saddens me that mental health is either taken lightly or gravely feared. I will go read Gordon’s posts.

  10. says

    Hi dear friend,

    You were heading to my blog when I was heading to yours. The LORD must have placed us on each others mind.

    Loved your post.

    I’ll have to visit your friends blog from your “community” site.

    Meeting people on line and then off line is an amazing thing. I think GOD has orchestrated it all. I agree with Jennifer that true community is when we can really be transparent as your friend was when he wrote “I fell into depression”.

    I love ya! Stay well. Have a great year in Christ.

  11. says

    there are so many people i want to visit and i’m adding your friends to the list.
    if you ever see me and don’t say anything i’ll hunt you down and make you pay! (but i’ve totally been there, done that and lived to blog about it ha)

  12. says

    Know what I love about the blog community? No one mentions their church denomination, or even if they do, they don’t judge the next person who has a different faith background. I have found love and acceptance here, as I’m sure others have.

    I’ll check out Gordon, you have picqued my interest!

    (Thanks for your sweet comment on my last post. You really lifted my spirits!)

  13. says

    One of the things I’ve learned about Gordon over the years… people like him (and LL and you and so many in the High Calling Network) they all make it look easy.

    Listening is never easy. Doing so with vulnerability is never easy. Doing so via new media tools is a constant excercise in humility.

    Gordon really is the master at it. And he likes green curry.

  14. says

    Laura, I’ve been reading at RLP , listening to his heart, for awhile. He’s so sincere, and he has videos posted that I found very helpful.
    Because my father suffered from depression , his story and how he relates it touches me deeply.
    I’ve shyly sent him a few notes, but I should let him know how much his writing about anything always moves me. Or maybe I just did.

  15. says

    Just went & met your sweet friend. What a beautiful honor to her friend! With having gone through and still going through cancer, the support from friends means much. And the blogging community has really touched me deeply. I am amazed how I’ve been lifted to a Higher Grander Story than my own pain and problems. Rescued from darkness and transferred to His Light! Col 1:9-12. Learning to care more about that rescue from darkness than any rescue from pain. He’s a good God through people like you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *