“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth
Back to the idea I had.
I usually rifle through my stack of loud journals around the first of each year. I often find them obnoxious and over-the-top dramatic, but when I succeed in silencing The Critic, I see my desire for honesty, growth, and truth. I see themes among the pages, based on events and people that I would have forgotten otherwise. I see the maturity I’ve gained, but conversely, I see myself continuing to wrestle with the same issues. I suffer the cliche journal writer’s fear of wondering whose eyes will see what I’ve committed to paper. Will old age or death surrender my journals to mockers and intellectual superiors?
Well, there I go being over-dramatic again. Most likely my future children and husband will be the only ones who read my journals. And because they love me they will add my sorrows to theirs, my successes to theirs; my eccentricities will be reckoned with their already nuanced and dear perception of me.
But what if I shared pieces from my journals right now? Excerpts that amuse, inspire or illuminate, not because the writer was brilliant or remarkable, but because she did it with all the sincerity of her being. She did it because since kindergarten writing was the only way of getting to all the pieces of herself. The only way to filter the world with honesty. A way to stay fully alive. A way to find God when my vision is dark.
I want you to know that I accept all your reasons for and experiences with writing, too. I’d love for you to share them. I think we will laugh a lot together about the things we’ve written. I created a Tumblr blog for readers of Spacious Pages to add their journal excerpts and musings. You can check it out at journalshare.tumblr.com. I really hope you do!
I had an idea last week. It began with a very bad day. I was feeling rather pointless, and looking for comfort, I pulled all my folded clothes off their shelf in the closet and into a heap on the floor. Reaching through the now-empty space, I retrieved a journal from a haphazard pile of notebooks lining the wall. (Hey, when you live in a teeny studio, you learn to double-up on shelves!) The journal I happened to fish out was from 5th/6th grade. What I read cheered me immensely.
Like this entry, for example.
I found this entry particularly hilarious because of the juxtaposition of the pressures of 6th grade with the current problems in my life. My husband and I have been married for two and a half months, but we haven’t been able to enjoy it the way we had dreamed we would. Twenty-five days after our wedding, Anthony was hit by an SUV while he was commuting home from work on his bicycle. We are truly SO thankful to God that his injuries weren’t more serious, but still his right knee suffered three torn ligaments. He has spent the better part of the last month and a half in bed and in a terrible amount of pain and discomfort. And he is far from healed. Although this time hasn’t been without it’s blessings, it has been really challenging for our new marriage.
Hence the pile of clothes on our floor. And a cup of tea while delving into problems of the past that I successfully survived. Reading that journal, I was amused, embarrassed, challenged, thoughtful, nostalgic…. And I found myself not wanting to let that honest and innocent little girl down. She seemed to have all the same emotions that I have now, but she didn’t feel like her life was over, like the problems would overtake her. She still proclaimed her goals and dreams, never doubting they would happen. I felt a good degree of shame at the thought of her hearing my thoughts earlier that day.
I think there is great value at looking back on the written records of our lives, in all its raw and unglamorous detail. We see where we’ve been and gain insight to the present. Sometimes we even find a little comfort and reason to laugh.