I wish I could tell you a beautiful, poignant story about the saint who gave me this journal all those years ago. I wish I could tell you that they had written me an elaborate entry on the first few pages--telling me how thankful I would be that I filled it with my simple childhood thoughts.
But the truth is: I don't know who gave me this diary. If I did, I would darn near kiss them on the mouth because:
This is the journal where I learned to love writing. I remember curling up in my blue sleigh bed, writing in these pages before I went to bed. The entries were simple, short and naive. Most of the time I wrote about the food that I ate, which friend I had played with that day, or how my sisters were sleeping in my bed. But I remember feeling proud of my writing--I remember loving the feeling of penning the thoughts in my little mind.
So you can imagine the the flood of overwhelming feelings I had this weekend, when I stepped into my childhood closet to find these:
Never once in my entire life had I stopped to think about how many journals I had filled. I just knew I loved writing. I knew that I needed to. When I found these old journals this weekend, I knelt to the floor, picking up each one individually--remembering the exact time in my life that they represented. I don't think I could describe my emotions as anything but sweet. It was a sweet, sweet feeling to page through these little books of my life. I can't find words for how thankful I am that I kept them up. So much has changed. My handwriting, my passions, my expectations, my relationships with people, my relationship with God, my taste, my fears, my dreams.
But my passion for writing has never changed. I love--and have always loved--words. I love the way they sound. I love the way they look, and mostly, and love the way they can capture wild, turbulent thoughts and pin them down for your sanity to sort through.
I believe that we can learn from our past writings. Looking back on what I used to think and feel--it helped me grasp how far I've come. Or, rather, how far God has brought me.
As most of you know, I believe in being vulnerable here. I believe in being transparent. And so, with that, here are some pages from my journals, from 1996 to present. Some are funny. Some are weird. Some are sad. Some are dramatic. Some are insightful for being so young. Mostly, though, they are raw and real. I hope that you can gather...well, something...from them: