True friendship is often found in unexpected places.
Awarded Honorable Mention in Friendship Day 2008 contest (14 Aug 08)
Every once in a while you meet someone. The meeting itself may not even be memorable, something as innocuous as bumping carts in a WalMart, or striking up a "How's the weather?" conversation in a waiting room. Or, it might be an assignment on Writing.Com. Yep, an assignment.
Did you know there's a group on WDC called Secret Pals? I discovered them quite by accident poking my nose into the nooks and crannies of this site. I was, and still am, new to WDC having joined on May 2, 2008. I had been a member for less than eight weeks when I found them. Wanting to get involved with more than just contests, I thought that this group might be fun. I was right!
Friendship is defined by Webster's as "a familiar closeness resting on mutual esteem, kindness and aid." I have that kind of friendship with the person who became my Secret Pal, Shannon Chapel (Shannon ). It's no accident that the friendship we've developed is real. It took a great deal of work on my part fulfilling my Secret Pal responsibilities--work that most might consider more bumbling and fumbling than anything. Our friendship resulted in spite of me.
Can one be friends despite having never met? Indeed, yes! I count several folk I've 'met' online as the best friends I have. Shannon is one. I have to say that my online friends are closer to me than my local friends. Perhaps you can relate.
I met Mrs. Shannon Chapel, a happily married mother of three and writer extraordinaire, through this monthly Secret Pal group. I got to know her little by little from my meager efforts to participate in that group. My duty of performing two tasks each week for her anonymously quickly became my pleasure. She was always receptive of my humble efforts to surprise her with a semiweekly tribute of some sort.
Never having done anything like this before, I had no idea what constituted a 'good' gift. The guidelines stated one wouldn't need money to be a Secret Pal. I agonized over what I might do. One of my passions after writing, is reviewing. This I could do. And I did! Often! While I found other ways to surprise Shannon, reading and reviewing her stories were the high point of my visits.
I think Shannon truly appreciated my visits to her port, and I felt welcome poking around and reading her wit and wisdom, her humor and poignancy, and her life through the written word. I got to know Shannon Chapel bit by bit. Shannon is a remarkable lady, and your lives will be enriched should you stop by her port and read her offerings.
The four weeks of plying Shannon with little 'secret' things came to an end all too quickly. I was glad for I believe our friendship has flourished. No--I'm not going to expose the Shannon Chapel I know to you. My journey to becoming friends with Shannon is personal and private. We are just friends who enjoy each other's company, separated by geography, yet joined by a bond greater than any chain.
Most likely, we will never meet face to face. While I feel a sense of loss with that knowledge, I know she is just a short reach away by keyboard and screen. May your lives be blessed with such friendship. Mine is; thank you Shannon Chapel.