There are some days that are forever emblazoned upon your memory. Today, 8 years ago is one of those days. Leo and I were completing the most glorious week at Curtain Bluff in Antigua after our wedding ceremony on April 30th.
We had spent months debating our next phase — and it was on that day that we agreed that it was to start a website, specifically RSIH, Inc. (Religion and Spirituality information Hub) — later to be branded Patheos. We were committed to do something that might change the world. Something that would matter.
“So that’s it? We’re going to start a website on Religion and Spirituality?” I said.
“Yes, we are,” he said.
“People are gonna think we’re crazy,” I said.
“Yes, they will,” he said.
And that was it. We both went back to reading our books and enjoyed the last day of our honeymoon. And our lives were forever changed.
The next few years were highs and lows unlike anything we had ever experienced. There were lots of people who told us we were crazy — and stupid and ignorant and unworthy. And that part was hard — but there were also people who were kind and supportive in some of the most unexpected places. We will remember that kindness and grace forever. And hope that we also show that kindness to other crazy dreamers that we meet in this life.
And here we are today, 8 years later with a website celebrating it’s 7th anniversary that has grown way beyond any of our initial expectations. But today, I reflect not on the pageviews and the numbers but on impact that we hoped to have in this endeavor. We dreamed that people who came to the site would somehow be changed by their time on Patheos, that the world might be just a little smarter, and a little more tolerant, a little kinder and a little more graceful. That those on a spiritual journey would find something that helped them along the way. One of the hard things about the web is that 10 million people stop by and spend time with us each month and we never get a chance to know if that hope is being fulfilled. We do know that you are coming and participating in the most important conversation on the web and for that we are grateful.
It is brutal work — religious content on the web. And our team of writers and editors know that better than anyone on the planet. And yet, they come to work everyday, and write everyday from a loving and committed position, and keep at it even when the comments and emails are disheartening. Without all of them, there would be no Patheos. No words can thank them enough for joining us on this journey and sharing in our vision.
This year, as I reflect on the path of Patheos, I am reminded that you can do anything you set your mind to. Just decide. Just decide that it is important, that it is worthy of your time, that it matters, and commit that your soul will join you on the journey. And never give up. Even when people tell you that you are crazy, because you are — crazy in the very best way.
Happy 7th Anniversary, Patheos!