This week, I was blindisghted when an integral part of my online world turned out to be a complete and utter fraud. I suppose she was technically a troll, but because of how intrictate it all was, that just doesn’t seem adequate. This woman (who I shall call Z for the sake of typing coherently), was accepted into our community with open arms and we all loved and supported her through the roller coaster that is life over the past three years. When the news broke, we all felt like the earth had been ripped out from under us and sent us reeling and defensive into our real worlds.
I had the opportunity to process it a bit on my own and with some wonderful friends who helped me process it in a way which I felt was important to reflect upon on in greater detail.
We have to recognize that every single thing that happens has the potential to teach us a lesson, and while I could use a ton of cliches here none fit quite right. At the end of the day, this was a horrible thing to experience, but we are still blessed to have the community and to be the warm and welcoming place it is which was likely part of the attraction for Z. Also, we are incredibly blessed that while it took a serious emotional hardship, it was not also a financial or physical one. Z never asked for financial support from any of us nor did she attempt to meet any of us in person. So no matter how much our hearts may ache, they will heal in time and it truly could have gone very differently.
This translates into real life so easily though, right? How often do we open up our homes and lives to people who have just moved into a community – inviting in people who need a meal or place to stay briefly? As I have mentioned before, D and I do it often, in fact it is probably one of our favorite mitzvot. Our home, small is at may be, is always open to friends, friends of friends, and anyone in need. I can only imagine that as a rabbinic couple this will increase – putting us in danger of being more physically at risk if something like this should happen in our “real life.”
What I realize though, is that it doesn’t matter. We live and love, and while that comes with the risk of getting hurt in the process – it is who we are and we will continue to do it. I will be the same open, warm, real person in my virtual and physical communities, because to do anything less would be awkward. I live a life of integrity (or at least do my best to) and that includes being the real Melissa all the time. I am happy to have made the friendships and connections which being this way have allowed, and I cannot imagine my life any other way. So trolls or no trolls, heartache or not – I am still here with open arms and moving forward as I did before. I hope you continue with me along this journey and that we don’t have to circle back to this topic in the future.