I got a new journal last week. It was a ‘splurge’ gift to reward myself for making a shopping trip into town when I really didn’t want to. It’s purple and tan and reminds me of chocolate–which is good since I gave up desserts for Lent (we will be celebrating all of our Sundays while in IL, though. I *must* have wedding cake, birthday cake, and a hot fudge brownie sundae at Steak-n-Shake. Hopefully God understands). So anyway–it’s a good place to run to instead of to chocolate.
I opened it the other day and wrote on the first pages. There’s something that I love about a blank book just waiting to be filled with thoughts. My journals generally must wait a long time to be filled. My last one took seven and a half years to be out of pages. More happened in those seven and a half years than I ever could have imagined.
I love the beginning though. All the tidy lines waiting for my words. I feel like I can breathe some bit of a new adventure in–like you can breathe in that wonderful new baby smell with a new-borne and wonder about the little ball of potential that they are.
Those first few pages were a little scary to begin. I thought back to the previous journal–a red, velvety one that Mom and Dad gave me before I left for college–and was astounded at all the changes that had happened, and all the events that had occurred that I never saw coming as I opened that book and began on the first page in those first weeks of my freshman year of college. I can’t help but wonder what I will seek refuge from in this book… New babies and deployments, new challenges with Little Miss and Ingrid–these I can anticipate–but what will it be that will throw me for a loop this time? And what will I find going on ‘beneath the surface’ as I begin to fill the pages?
Looking beneath the surface is my new challenge in journalling. I’m leading a small group for the weeks of lent regarding Spiritual Disciplines. The first one to study, fittingly, was journalling. The materials we’re using emphasized the importance of documenting not just the events that happened, but how we might see God at work behind them, and in us. It’s a new way to look at the mundane details and the breath-sucking dips and peaks of the roller-coaster. It’s also a fitting challenge for my next couple of months.
In the last few years–maybe because of the kinship I felt with my red, velvet journal from my folks–I’ve discovered I’m very particular about the kind of book I write in. I used to settle for Steno Pads–I’d fill them to the brim faster than I could ever believe. But something changed, for whatever reason, and I’ve needed to write in books that have a little more pizazz. I’ve also written more sporadically. I write at times when I’m particularly thoughtful or particularly full of spilling-over emotion that has nowhere else to go.
I’m also pretty picky about my writing utensils. Remember Anne Shirley writing love letters to Gilbert and trying to find a pen that wasn’t too scratchy, but also wasn’t too inky? That’s me. Since both Chester the Cat and Little Miss are pen-stealing bandits, that can cause some problems these days.
So my little purple and brown book is sitting on the shelf now, watching me jealously as I blog on to you. I think it’s time to give her a turn.