Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A stack of journals

I took a recent day off to, among other things, clean up around the house. I moved furniture around the living room, making sure to sweep up every nook and cranny. Once finished, rather than put everything back in place, I decided to try out a new furniture arrangement. I moved couches and recliners and even the small entertainment center until everything was in at least a slightly new place.

After a deep clean, it's important to reconsider where everything goes.

As part of the rearranging, I tucked away a small nightstand piece between the couch and the recliner. It's barely noticeable and only takes up about a square foot of space but it makes a convenient place on which to sit your drink.

What my house guests probably don't realize is that inside I have hidden away stacks and stacks of notebooks and journals that I've been keeping for well over a decade. If they dared to peek inside, my friends would find dozens of binders, notebooks, notepads and journals, some deeply personal, others that are just filled in with doodles or notes from Sunday School.

I started keeping them right about the same time I started attending church regularly by my own free will; after my first summer camp experience back in 1999 around the turn of the century.

Occasionally, but not often, I'll crack open a notebook and read over its contents. I usually can remember the time and place of each writing from memory, even if it's not scribbled into the corner of the page, and it takes me back to a lot of my developing teen years. A lot of the writing is from each year's summer camp experience or notes from church classes and sermons. Then there are the spiritual observations, thoughts on scripture and prayers to God written out like a letter.

It's crazy to go back and read some of those now. It refreshes that sense in me of a young kid falling in love with God and at the same time trying to figure out all the mess going on his own life and trying to reconcile it all in his own mind.

This morning I read this scripture and it reminded me of that stack of journals. It's the start of Psalms 139.

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.

It's not an easy thing to open up your life like an open book. It's much easier to keep the door closed on our inner thoughts.

The door on the nightstand in my living room is held on by a weak magnet and has been opening up occasionally on its own. It serves as a reminder that it's important to open up and be honest. First of all, I need to be honest with God. Then, after receiving His love and correction, I can open up with others.

It's easy to keep those inner thoughts locked up and put away, even if they're hidden in plain sight. But occasionally I want to dive in and open up what's hidden inside.

And sometimes that happens through writing. So I hope you don't mind if some of that ends up here on the blog from time to time. There's more to come.

Thanks for reading.


ibmelodious said...

Thumbs up for journals...something I've never kept, except for my daughter when she was younger...to help her know what was going on in the time before she could remember. Also, thumbs up for using the phrase, "turn of the century." I never thought about it before, but it makes people sound old and wise to say they were around "at the turn of the century"! LOL

Abby said...

Er-bear, great blog post today. I really enjoyed it! I miss you and want you to know I think you're awesome ;)

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