This past week has been a blur, and it almost defies explanation to people who don’t know us or our friends yet.
The best way to say it is this:
The Icrontic community is the greatest group of friends that have ever formed up around a website.
Several times a year, Icrontic friends drive, fly, walk, bike, ride, crawl—whatever they have to do—to meet up with each other and hang out. Most of the time this ends up happening here in Michigan, with Lincoln and I hosting parties and gatherings, but occasionally other Icrontians offer their homes up to friends from all over the place. Icrontic gatherings have been held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, Columbia, Jefferson City, Alexandria, and the list goes on. Icrontians have gone to Renaissance festivals, had barbecue parties, swam in lakes, climbed mountains, had high tea, and done all kinds of amazing things together.
As incredible as all of this is, especially considering most of these folks met either on a website or in a video game, it all pales in comparison to the truly remarkable events of this past week.
It started off as our annual Icrontic St. Patrick’s Day gathering, but it turned into so, so much more. A giant group of friends brought old clothes, checkbooks, and tools. They showed up and asked one simple thing:
“What needs to get done?”
The sky was the limit. We needed huge holes dug down to below the foundation of the house. We needed concrete broken. We needed bricks layed. We needed drywall hung. We needed windows replaced.
They swung pickaxes, injured themselves, went out and bought materials and food, and literally shed blood, sweat, and tears to help us renovate this home.
Our contractor, Andy, was dubious at first. After all, when you say “Yeah, we can have a bunch of friends show up and help”, it sounds like it’ll turn into advanced babysitting, at best.
This was no amateur hour. People showed up with no-nonsense attitudes, hard work ethics, and said, “Tell me what to do.”
And tell he did. He pointed in the right direction and found quickly that he was able to trust this crew not to screw things up.
The list of what got done is long… so very long. What felt at first to be an almost insanely overwhelming task for three friends from the suburbs to tackle has suddenly become a realistic and achievable goal. Things are falling into place.
Several times in the last few days I have found myself asking one big question. “Why?”
Why are these people so generous? Why are people willing to collectively spend thousands of dollars to help us fix this house? Why are they willing to come and do hard manual labor, pushing themselves to the point of injury? Why are we so loved?
It’s complicated. Like any good story, it’s long and has a lot of ups and downs. It’s difficult for outsiders to comprehend, although the history of Icrontic tells a bit of the tale. Once in a while, new Icrontians will write love letters to the community, explaining how overwhelmed they are to have met this group of friends.
Once in a while, I have to write my own love letter to my own community, and this is it.
I love you all. You have humbled me, and I have something to learn from each and every one of you. By knowing you, I am becoming a better man.
More than anything else, all I can really say is thank you all. Thank you.