It's been a little while since it first happened. I got home from my day's activities, opened up my web browser, and logged in to my Gmail account for Mormon Guy. I glanced through the emails, scanning topics and senders, and then stopped and stared. It was there in the From: box - a person I knew, and not just in passing. A person I knew really well. Some names in the world are common. But the LDS world is small. Really small. And the picture that came up when the pointer paused above the name confirmed the thought. Definitely someone I knew.

I wondered what I would do if someone I knew asked me for help. It's easy to help strangers, when anonymity is equally dispersed, but what about people I know? All of my contacts related to (G)MG have come from the blog and moved into real life - not the other way around. I'm not sure how I would feel about suddenly switching roles with someone in my life. That thought was cut short when I realized it was just a comment to post. Not an issue. Relief... because I don't have to make the decision - a decision that would complicate another relationship and potentially end with my breaking anonymity with another person.

Since then it's happened multiple times, with all sorts of interesting connections... sometimes asking for help, usually simply just sending a letter or posting a comment. She doesn't realize that I was once in her ward. He doesn't know that I met him at a party years ago. He's my neighbor. She doesn't know that we went on a date once. No one realizes how closely we are all tied together.

And I guess I don't realize it, either. In just as many cases, I've probably met men and women somewhere in life, and never guessed that someday our paths would cross again.

I wonder what trials the people around me face... and, more importantly, what I can do to help them. If making sure to smile, or ask about their lives, or spend an extra minute talking while under a deadline would make a difference. I know that if people simply cared about me, and involved me in the real aspects of their lives, my problems would seem far less insuperable. And I'm sure it's the same for others... people sitting next to me right now, talking down the hallway, standing in front of me in the checkout line.
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