Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Simple Suggestion #242... Reread an old journal

I haven't been moodling as much as usual lately because I've been rereading the books of my life. They inhabit two heavy banker boxes on a shelf in our basement.

What brought this on? My girls and I were chatting about letter writing, and I mentioned how one of the first letters from their father threw me for a loop.

"Dad wrote you letters?!" They couldn't imagine their dad writing to me, I guess. So I went down to my boxes and pulled out the duotang that holds the story of my beginnings with Lee, including many letters we wrote back and forth (we lived 100 km apart at that time).

I read them the threw-me-for-a-loop letter, about Lee's conversation with God on a golf course, how he told God he'd like to find "someone special," but that he probably couldn't expect someone to just come up to him and say, "I've been looking for you." And guess what happened? If you guessed that when he got back to the clubhouse I was standing there saying those exact words, well, I don't have to tell you the rest of the story. My girls ate it up, of course! And I got lost in the rest of the book, rereading our whirlwind romance and early life together.

It was so much fun to look back to the time when I didn't know the love of my life -- when we were feeling our way into friendship and courtship and permanent relationship. Some pages are downright embarrassing and should probably be burned, but others fill me with a deep delight, especially since I know how happily the story continued.

Those two banker boxes hold all sorts of journalled treasures dating from the time I was 14. They tell stories of a younger me, my ups and downs and in-betweens, as well as stories of friendships made and lost, my first years of teaching, and our daughters' growing up. When I was younger, I found it hard to reread my life, probably because I wasn't proud of the painful, hurtful, embarrassing, less-than-charitable moments in my past, but now that I've reached a certain age, I see how all those moments have made me into a person at whom I laugh a lot, and love most days.

The books of my life bring back long forgotten events... like hanging out with summer camp friends, a wonderful camping trip with my sisters, a long phone chat with a faraway friend, a moment of pure anger with the parent of one of my students, the ever deepening love for my husband, the incredible joy as I held my newborn babes, and the struggles and joys of parenting, all of it written as I tried to sort out my heart and life.

I know that not everyone journals the way I have, but most people at least try it once or twice. So today's simple suggestion is to dig out that old diary or notebook -- or computer file? -- and remember who you were at another time in your life. If you are able, offer that person of the past your blessing and love from the present.

For more Simple Suggestions, click here.

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