Monday, December 06, 2010

Where did Big Planet Small World come from?

From the door of my local Starbucks, an invitation
to what's supposed to happen in a coffehouse

This post might look for a moment like a praise to an individual. But that's not what it is. It's a celebration of a class of relationships, a general homage to how friendships are created.

This blog received its name as a sort of unintentional gift from Gail Hyatt. I consider Gail to be a remarkable and wise woman. She successfully raised five daughters, has traveled richly, changed her mind with consideration and intent on a variety of important issues, maintains a meaningful marriage to a corporate CEO and part-time clergyman (same guy, not two different guys), apparently keeps a warm, hospitable environment in her home where she welcomes guests frequently, and still, by some miracle, keeps her sanity. At least, I think she keeps her sanity.

A year ago, Gail was a new "virtual friend," discovered because I heard her husband on the radio, liked what he had to say (or more to the point, the simple but confident way in which he said it), investigated how to interact with him through social media channels, found out that many of his "associates are people of good character," and built connections with them for their likemindedness as well, ultimately leading to a number of longstanding and meaningful relationships, both online and off. At one point, I discovered that a particular individual was someone I had already met through entirely different channels. Remarking to Gail on the pleasant surprise of this, I wrote to her, "It's a big planet, but it's a small world."

She responded, "That would make a great tagline," and Big Planet, Small World was born.

In general, this is how connections are made. This is how lives are enriched and saved. We become stronger when we strengthen and encourage and support each other. The synergy of intertwining our stories is glorious. The point of Big Planet, Small World is to invite you to join all of us who are already here in that activity, interacting with each other, and loving every minute of it!

Question: Whom [thanks, Magda] have you subtly influenced this week? Who inadvertently influenced you?