...thanks for asking.
I am not vested in my Christian upbringing. I think of myself more pagan. The 4th of July is close enough to the Summer Solstice that I feel it is a good time to reflect. The truth is there is less math with trying to remember four cycles of the earth around the sun, no rules regarding celebrations and less commercial interruption from what I consider to be the point. I can make it up. That is the appeal.
For a few years now one of the things I made up was sending out an annual Newsletter, Cile's Independence Day News to friends and family. Traditionally I would spend the 4th of July constructing the thing. It provided for me a way to sit back and assess my past year giving me a sense of continuity. I sent it out to people because I wanted to share. It was my thinking that I receive updates from friends whom I have been long separated by circumstance (usually at Christmas time) and that I enjoy hearing from them. When I received these updates, there was a sense of relief that I was still somewhere in the orbit of their lives. So it was that I began sending out the newsletter to friends and family. My first attempts at this were dreadful but I improved it. Sometimes I included a CD of music that found tight rotation for me on my MP3 player that year.
I stopped doing the newsletter this year. I stated in it last year that it was becoming cost prohibitive but that isn't the only reason. I truly enjoyed the putting together the publishing of it and the copying the CD and updating the addresses and writing the individual letters to everyone over the course of July. It felt like I was really active in the lives of those I often think about but rarely have time to follow through with tracking down. I trust they think about me in a favorable light. For that kind of fun, I could have found the dough. What happened is that the footprint became to big.
The BP oil spill this year really shocked me into realizing how disastrous ignoring the overuse of resources has become. There's the 60 sheets of high gloss 11" x 17" paper and the 2 sided printing with colored inks, the 60 CD's and their envelopes with printed information on them. Then there are the mailing envelopes, the stamps and the miles of travel and useage of fossil fuel to get the things where I send them. It is too much.
I've long since stopped buying out of season produce that flies all the way from places like New Zealand to my vegetable bin and opted to stave off until it is in season for my part of the world. Likewise I began to see my newsletter as a bit of overkill that required a reassessment. There are a lot more resources available to me electronically than ever before. Some of them I have been utilizing all along but I never insisted that my relatives and friends step up and visit me this way. It never really occurred to me to ask until I sat down at my computer on July 4th of this year.
Facebook was probably the tipping point for me. I began to use this social networking site in spades as my granddaughter was born and it has kept me close to my son and daughter-in-law and the progression of this family event in a way that is nothing short of miraculous. I went to visit this month and it was as if I just stepped out of the Facebook page. It seems to me this was because we have been communicating and sharing all along. I haven't even explored the telecommunication possibilities of applications like Skype and individual, specialized chat rooms! My point is there are alternatives.
The great sun giveth; the great sun taketh away. In this case I feel I've been given an opportunity to explore an alternative way of sharing which is fortunate. More often than not, valuable things just disappear without such an obvious replacement. My challenge is reconstructing my habit of the way I "used" to do it with a new way. The obvious alternative would be to post the newsletter as an electronic attachment. I opted out of doing it that way this year. It has taken me longer than I expected to get my bearings with the changes. It will take me some time to construct how I want to do it and I need a better understanding of why I do it at all. An annual assessment of what happens in a year in my life will always be necessary, however, I feel the strain of a crowded time-line stretching behind me already from not doing it this year.
So this is my explanation. A certain amount of people never even read the newsletter. I know they don't because they ask me questions that I already covered in detail in the newsletter! [I'm laughing] I liked to pretend everyone reads the the thing and listens to the music. Those times of dilution have passed, however, and if I can let go of a cumbersome yet satisfying enterprise for the sake of the greater good and make a change, those who are inclined, can catch up with things electronically as I try and bring a more consistent sharing on the interwebs.
Well, I feel certain that the sun knows I'm sincere when I say I can only love you all as much as I love my life and my life is loving you.