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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

i don't keep a diary

Earlier today in the car as I was driving to a meeting I was rocking and singing to an old album--BarlowGirl's Another Journal Entry--a piece quite instrumental in my spiritual walk when I was about 12 years old.  (The poor people in the cars around me...probably thought I was crazy.) Songs like I Need You to Love Me, Never Alone, 5 Minutes of Fame brought me back 8 years (has it really been that long??).

To the days that we first moved down south.  To the days that I was struggling to find my place in life. To the days that my grandma had lung cancer, and our schedule was crazy around my mom helping take care of her. To the days that I was searching.  To the days I was questioning.  Fighting.  Desperate.

It was during this season that a friend came to visit us for the summer.  She was about 20 at the time--8 years older than me.  I don't remember us discussing very many spiritual things that summer, but I do remember one particular conversation that impacted me for the rest of my life; everyday thereafter.  At that time, I was extremely sheepish opening up to anyone about anything--but I remember feeling so desperate, so stuck in my spiritual walk, I shared it with my older friend.

"Well, have you tried journaling?"  she asked.

I laughed slightly, I never could stand writing out the events of the day.  It was boring to me.  I remember at the age of 7 or 8, since I loved to write, my mom suggested that I keep a diary.  I didn't want to.  I did sometimes, I had a bunch of started journals, diaries, and notebooks, but I could never stick with it.

"No, I could never stick with that...writing about my day isn't really my thing..."  I explained my history with diaries.

She shook her head.  "Eh, I never went for diaries either..."  She laughed.  "Actually, when I say journaling, I mean like writing letters to God, just in a journal--like instead of writing out the day's events, write your prayers down."

I thought for a moment.  That had never occurred to me.

So I tried it.  And couldn't stop.

(Come on, you know you love my pink rhinestone-studded pen ;-))

It was then that I realized why the songs from Another Journal Entry touched me the way that they did.  The reason that they spoke so deeply to my questioning, yearning, preteen heart--because they were just that: words from another girl's journal, another girl's cries to God.

Journaling gave me a place to pour out my heart.  To shape these feelings of havoc into swirls of ink etched to make words.  And a way to go back and see the journey...

I thank my dear friend for that moment.  I don't think she has any idea the impact that she made, just by simply giving me that small piece of advice.  I have since finished several journals and have found such peace and enjoyment in my time of writing out my thoughts to God.  I especially love going back and reading my entries and seeing the love story played out; the ups, the downs, the valley moments, the ones on the mountain top.  

Scribbles on the tear stained, bent up pages remind me of God's hand, ever present--even when I don't feel it.

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I'm never alone

~Never Alone, by BarlowGirl
(acoustic version on Another Journal Entry)

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