Saturday, March 14, 2009


So Who's Counting?

I was telling a good friend yesterday about this "stats counter" (invisible to readers) that I have attached to my blog that shows how many "hits" I get each day, how long each one lasted, whether each was a first-time or a returning visitor; it even tells me what states or countries the visitors come from (one from Berlin and one from London so far). After listening to me enthuse over this new toy for a few moments she looked me in the eye and asked, "Do those numbers really matter?" I didn't even have to answer her -- the question itself was enough.
Sure, I'm curious to know how many people are reading my blog, but I would keep writing it no matter what the numbers were. Just the other day I wrote in my prayer journal that keeping this blog is deepening my experience of Lent this year; writing these "posts" on a wide variety of aspects of Lent is helping me in my own journey; the blog keeps reminding me that there are many people who are walking the road with me, and it lets me profit from the reflections which they enter in the "Comments" sections. So blogging is part of my Lenten conversion, and has nothing much to do with bar graphs and pie charts.

It's ironic: on my blog I've been warning people not to try to quantify everything in their Lenten observances and religious experiences, yet I was starting to talk about this very blog mostly in terms of the number of hits per day and the average length of each visit! Woops! Well, that's why we have friends.

My blog is like my Lenten observances: neither of them is something I can reduce to nice neat statistics. I have no idea what God may want me to learn from my Lenten practices, and I certainly don't know who God intends to touch and in what way by my writings on my blog. Although a couple of the comments that readers have typed in have indicated that the Lord is finding ways to use my writing to move people and touch their hearts, I honestly have no idea what God has in mind for the blog, or how many people besides me will be touched by it or in what way. In any case, none of those important effects would show up on the statistics counter anyway.

Conversion and Control

The theme of the meditations for the third week of Lent in Pilgrim Road is "conversion." Whatever conversion is, it must have something to do with my giving up my futile attempts to control situations and people, with trying to reduce everything in life to something I can measure and manage. It must also have something to do with opening myself up to God and letting myself be surprised by the Divine at any time and in any place. And of course, conversion is a notoriously open-ended process, one that is never finished. Not in forty days, or forty years. Let's pray for one another especially during this week, the we will each experience the grace of conversion in whatever way the Lord needs us to experience it.

Know what I just gave up for Lent? Looking at the statistics counter on my blog.

Reflection: What does the call to conversion mean for you in your own situation? Do you sense it as a call to a specific action or is it a more of an invitation to reform your general attitude toward God, your neightbor or your life?

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