Chronicling Your Life
One of the wonders of journaling is that
it interprets us to ourselves.*
When I was a teen I kept many angst-filled journals full of sappy poetry and the occasional entry about my love-starved life. I don't believe I ever finished a journal, but I have many half-full books sitting in a dusty box somewhere that were begun with sheer optimism and the dream of someday being published.
Life, as they say, happens. I never got those poems published (never tried) and yet I still have the desire to write. My journals these days are not the pretty overpriced ones that catch my eye at the bookstore, but cheap marble-covered composition books from the dollar store. My journal is where I figure my life out, work out a search for meaning, and store God's fingerprints in written form.
Just as we have stories from thousands of years ago to relay to us the way God worked within the lives of the Israelites, and on through the stories of Jesus, there are some things in our lives that deserve to be remembered. My journal now is mainly a spiritual one. I pour out my soul to God in quasi-prayers, sometimes shouting on paper, sometimes whispering, but always being honest. Journaling is my gift to myself.
As a spiritual practice, journaling is
really about authenticity...
The past two years have been full of trials for me. I struggled with post-partum depression, which then overlapped a trying time in my job within the church. I lost faith in people, I lost faith in myself, and, for a time, I lost faith in God. Now on the other side of that dark valley I feel an inexpressible gratitude for the words in my journal. The brutal honesty, the pain, the uncertainty, and the doubt have a voice forever, but more importantly, the light that comes through those pages as I progress through the darkness back into a life of faith is no less powerful than the breaking of the dawn over a cold, dark horizon.
January 24, 2009
"Can I learn to accept who I've become? That is the necessary question. It seems this shadow is what I've become, for better or worse, and now begins the painful process of embracing this new person...The loss of my joy and the ensuing bitterness and rudderlessness has seeped in and changed who I am..."
March 19, 2009
"Looking back I can't even believe the utter despair and loss of faith I experienced. It is as though you are speaking so clearly now in every moment, from every place- shouting out your presence to me. Why did I go through that dark time? I still don't completely understand, but experience has shown me that over time I will see bits and pieces of your purpose in my suffering...You have brought me through, and I am filled with thankfulness."
Growth. Gratitude. Maturity. Joy. Understanding. Relationship. All of these are waiting to be harvested upon beginning, and sustaining, a journaling life.
So I ask you...
What stories do you have just beneath the soil waiting to be told?
*Quotes from Journaling as a Spiritual Practice, by Helen Cepero*
Copyright protected 2009. Contents of this post are the property of Christine Hiester. Used by permission