When my marriage ended in divorce well over 20 years ago and my young daughter visited her dad on the weekends, I had way too much time on my hands. I occupied myself by climbing on a blue lawn mower, which was more like a tank, and cutting six acres of grass Friday evening and into the majority of Saturday. I placed the headphones over my ears and turned up the volume in an attempt to silence my deafening thoughts. When the sun faded into the horizon I was forced to put the mower away and walk inside the empty house alone.
Friends were few and far between at that point. They became distant when I needed them the most. I’m sure it was a mixture of them not knowing what to say and others just not wanting to get involved. Regardless of the reason they pulled away, I was alone every other weekend. I found when most everyone looked forward to the weekends, I dreaded every other weekend when my daughter would be away. I yearned for the days when our little white house in the country was filled with laughter and a whole lot of love. It would be again come Sunday night when my beautiful blonde hair, blue-eyed girl with a smile that would light up the entire universe walked back into the door! While I waited, I could either let the darkness outside and in my life consume me, or I could find another outlet.
One evening, desperate for companionship, I wandered into a forum I had seen advertised on a television network for women. I didn’t know what to expect when I joined in on the conversation, but I was pleasantly surprised to find not only women but a few brave men among the group. They were all so welcoming and supportive. Serious topics were discussed in that forum, and these precious people soon became my closest friends. One dear lady with a son around my daughter’s age said her son described us as her “friends in the box.”
Oh, I thank GOD for my friends in the box!
I still dreaded every other weekend when my daughter had to go, but when the sun went down, my broken and wounded soul found comfort with people I had never even laid eyes on. I no longer had to feel alone for they were right there with me any time I logged in.
There is something unique about “meeting” people online. Because they don’t walk beside you in your “real” everyday life, you find yourself more comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them. They confide in you as well, and the strongest bonds begin to form. You feel as if you have finally found a connection with people who truly understand and care for you. They become your tribe, your support system, and your friends for life!