I have an old chair in the corner of the room where I like to sit each morning with a cup of coffee, my Bible, my current journal and a handful of different colored pens. It’s where I ease my way into the day, preparing my mind, my heart and my soul. Where I journal about my days.
Noting the events of a day makes me feel like time isn’t slipping through my hands like sand. It makes me feel like the swiftly passing days have some value. Sometimes I’ve been so busy I only note what’s happened or what I’ve done. Even in these busy times it makes me feel like the day has more value. Like I’ve ‘done’ rather than had the day ‘done to me’. On slower days I can examine my feelings, dwell on dreams and plans, consider a bucket list. Even make goals which are very flexible for the most part.
One thing I do on slower days—when life or the client’s call bell don’t hurry me—is be deliberate about gratefulness. We are so blessed yet take so much for granted. I live in a spacious, warm house—not a cardboard box or even a one-room shanty I share with several family members. I am warm, clothed, and my stomach is full.
Then there are the little things—like gifts of grace from a loving God. The colors of the sunrise, the birds darting in and out of the berry bushes, the pleasant shape of the snowdrifts outside my window, the scurry of the clouds, and in other seasons, the colors and sounds of nature. There is so much to be grateful for. The purr of the cat, the kiss of a child, the enticement of a good book, the aromas of dinner, the first taste of morning coffee.
Reading journals written by others is also a fun and rewarding activity.
I enjoyed Emily Carr’s Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr. She writes something that I think expresses my own feelings. ‘Yesterday I went to town and bought this book to enter scaps in, not a diary of statistics and dates and decency of spelling and happenings but to jot me down in, unvarnished me, old me at fifty-eight—old, old, old, in most ways and in others just a baby with so much to learn and not much time left…It seems to me it helps to write things and thoughts down. It makes the unworthy ones look more shame-faced and helps to place the better ones for sure in our minds. It sorts out jumbled up thoughts and helps to clarify them, and I want my thoughts clear and straight for my work.’
Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift from the Sea, puts it this way, ‘I began the pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships.’
Much of the best research material I have come upon is journals kept by pioneers. How I thank these people.
I have many, many journals—simple coil-back scribblers. I haven’t decided what to do with them. Though I once read a ditty that I think I might follow: ‘If I should die before I wake, through these journals in the lake.”
Do you keep a journal? Have you ever? Why or why not?