Friday, 31 August 2018

Gilbert ... Gone

This is Gilbert. He lives a few houses down the road from us. Next to that house with the red door. You know, the house with the roses in the front garden, and a red door. With a blue car parked outside. Well, Gilbert lives near there. Or should I say lived near there. Because I have just been told by a neighbour that Gilbert moved last week. He went down South. A place called Bognor Regis in the South of England.

Now this makes me sad. Apparently Gilbert lived down our street for three years and now he's moved South and I'll never see him again. Admittedly, I never saw him, or knew him when he lived down the street. Well, I may have seen him but not recognised him as Gilbert. We were never introduced and I didn't even know he was living down the street, let alone he was Gilbert. He could have been any Tom, Dick or Peter living down the street or any where else for that matter. But he wasn't. He was Gilbert. And he lived down the street. And I never met him. Talked to him. Or possibly have been a friend with him. That's sad.

They say a stranger is a friend you are yet to meet. Well, there's no chance of that with Gilbert is there? He came. He lived. He went. And I didn't even know he existed. Probably, he didn't even know I existed. That's sad.

And that's what makes me sad. How many other Gilberts are there down our street that I know nothing about? They would not be called Gilbert, of course. That would be a coincidence. But whatever they are called I don't know they exist and they don't know I exist. That's sad.

I go to church frequently. I often sit in the same place, behind the pillar out of sight of the priest. I see many people in church. They often sit in the same place. I don't know all their names, and have not spoken to all of them. I just know them by sight. The old lady with a walking stick. The old man with a moustache. The couple with their children and so on. They are all people coming to church on Sunday and no doubt giving God a headache with their problems and their different wants and requests. I just go to church and for the most part I ignore them, and they ignore me. That's sad.

The other Sunday, the man who gives out the hymn books as you enter the church, what is his name? You know? Tall man, with a limp. In his sixties. Anyway, he told me that Mrs Haricot had died. I did not know who Mrs Haricot was. I did not know she was alive let alone that she is now dead. The man with the hymn books told me she sat on the left, just by the Statue of St Anthony, over there ... Come to think of it. I remember an elderly lady always dressed in black who always sat over there. Well, she is now dead. That's sad.

I never knew her. But I could have. She was there every Sunday and I never spoke to her. And she never spoke to me. We could have been friends. But we were not, because we never spoke to each other. We both went to church every Sunday and bothered God with our problems rather than bothering about each other. That's sad.

Gilbert makes me sad. Mrs Haricot makes me sad. The man with the hymn books makes me sad. And the old lady with the walking stick. And the man with the moustache. And the couple with their children. These are all people who are here today and probably gone tomorrow. To Bognor Regis I shouldn't wonder. Have you ever been? Don't bother ... nothing to write home about. That's sad.

And all the Bloggers who visit me and I visit them ... they make me sad. Because I don't know them either. They are like Gilberts. People known by name only. But to me, they are more than just names on my monitor. They are real people. I believe they are mostly good people with their families, their friends, their lives and their hopes. We visit each others' blogs and leave a short message, saying "Hi" and that's it ... We really don't know each other and chances are we will never meet in real life because of distance, I suppose. That's sad.

And what happens when someone suddenly stops blogging and visiting? Their blog posts have stopped suddenly with no explanation. What is the blogging etiquette then? Do you write to them checking they are OK? Or is that not the done thing? I don't know ... and that's sad too.

Personally, I just pray for them. And give God a headache as I add to my list of prayers.

22 comments:

  1. Victor...this was beautifully written. Filled with the depth of your thoughts. Life with bloggers is truly a unique friendship. And I consider you a friend.

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    1. Thank you Anni. Let's continue to visit each others' blogs - even though we cannot visit in person.

      God bless.

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  2. Interesting thoughts. If I could, I would let others know I am no longer able to blog.

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    1. I've seen bloggers leave a final message saying they are no longer blogging. Others delete their whole blog; which is a shame.

      God bless you, Christine.

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  3. We begin a new kind of friendship in the blogging world...but a friendship it is.
    Your words are very true Victor and beautifully written. How many times at church, I have waved or smiled at the same people I have been seeing there for years...but I know nothing about them...not even their names. We now hurry to our cars after mass. No time to stop and say "hi" or shake to someone's hand.
    As Christine said...I, too will try to let my blogging friends know that I am no longer able to blog when that time comes!

    Blessings Victor~

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    1. It's so good that we have made friends over the internet, Jan. Let's promise to keep visiting each other.

      God bless you always.

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    2. Sounds good to me Victor...at least with blogging friends, more often than not, we have a name to go with the blog. Not just "that guy with a great sense of humor and loves God!"

      ~Blessings~

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    3. Thank you Jan. When you pray for me mention to God that I am the Victor with the sense of humour. In case He mistakes your prayers for someone else.

      And should you ever wish to write me off-line my address is at the top right.

      God bless.

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  4. Blogging friends make for a different kind of relationship, but no less important! You know I love meeting my blogging friends in person and have gone out of my way to meet up with some of them. Meeting in person takes this relationship to a different, more personal level. It does make me sad that we probably won't meet in person because of that big body of water between us. BUT... having you as a blogging friend is special and meaningful and does not make me sad at all!! Please don't just go away!!

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    1. What a nice thing to say, Terri. Thank you.

      God bless you.

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  5. It is sad, Victor, that we so often don't reach out to our neighbors or to those who attend our church. We could be missing out on so much by keeping to ourselves.
    As for blogging friends, I may never meet them in person, but they are nonetheless people I sincerely care about. I do feel I get to know them by how they write and what they write about. And I keep a list of my blogging friends, praying for each one every day.
    So glad I can call you my friend!
    Blessings!

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    1. Thank you my friend. I certainly need your daily prayers. Indeed, I do.

      God bless you and yours, Martha.

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  6. You're right, it is sad. When I used to live in Alaska, we used to have potluck get togethers. It gave people a chance to interact with others that they might not know. Those were always fun and it broke the ice when meeting someone new.
    As for bloggers, I usually post that I am taking a break. One time I didn't and people were concerned so I always just say it now.
    Nice discussion here today, Victor.
    Enjoy the weekend, my friend!

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    1. Thanx Bill. I am always concerned when a Blogger just stops blogging. I don't know whether to contact them or not.

      God bless you.

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  7. Thanks for the thought-provoking post! Too often we get busy and aren't aware of the people and things around us. Thanks for the reminder to change my behavior in that regard.

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    1. Hi Kathy. It is always nice to see you visiting here. Thank you.

      God bless.

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  8. Sometimes I think we can know a blogger friend better than one we see. I've met a few bloggers and always feel like we have known one another for years.
    Walking every day I've met lots of my neighbors. I'm one of those people who talk to every one.
    It is sad when a blogger friend just stops blogging but a lot do say good-bye on a post. I always hope they will return to blogging.
    I am blessed to have a wonderful church family and know most of them but our church is on the small side.
    Thought provoking post and maybe it will make someone take the time to get to know a neighbor or fellow church member.

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    1. Thank you Happyone for such a full response to my post. Maybe it is a British thing, a Southern British thing, but people here don't talk so much to neighbours. Some don't even know their neighbour's names. We had neighbours near us for three years. The only time I got to know their names is when they were out and the Amazon man wanted to deliver something in our house instead.

      Up North people tend to be more friendly, though.

      God bless you, Happyone.

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  9. This doesn't just speak to me, Victor. No, it shouts in a whisper to my heart. So many opportunities lost. The improbability astounds. Truth be told, my blogger friends are dearer than most. Don't go disappearing, please?

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    1. Thank you Mevely for being a good friend. We may never meet in person, but in the meantime let's continue to meet on the Internet.

      God bless you and yours.

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  10. A thought provoking post, and one which I enjoyed reading.

    I do my best to be neighbourly and to care about my family, my friends, my Community.
    Blogging does become a Community, albeit a different one … we only meet through our keyboard and monitors but over the years I have communicated with many. I hope those who visit feel welcome, as I meet people in the flesh I also do my best to welcome them with a smile ... but the world is changing and not always for the better.

    On a positive note I was thankful to spend precious time with some of the grandchildren before they went back to school. I so enjoy this and I couldn't help but notice others were also looking on as we played and joked together, it made people smile … smiling is good.

    Hope your September days are going well Victor, the year passes by so quickly.

    God bless you too.

    All the best Jan

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    1. The thing is, Jan, we all seem to be too busy to communicate and keep in contact with each other. the irony is that we live in a time where there are many communication devices not available to previous generations - internet, smart phones, tablets, and so on ... yet, communication on a one-to-one basis seems to be lacking.

      God bless you and yours always.

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