I’ve been journaling since I was in junior high school in one form or another. Diaries, daily calendar entries, half-filled spiral notebooks… Most of those early journals are lost or stored away in boxes in the shed we rent. But here at home I have them going back through the first years of our marriage in 1972. I always journal in first person. That’s a given. If I want to crab and whine, I want it to feel like me!
But until recently it never occurred to me to look at the WAY I write my journals. Sound weird? Well, a few months ago when I was writing it dawned on me that my journal entries sound like, of all things, letters home. It was almost as if I were expecting someone to gather round the hearth and read them to the family. Almost as if the letter had come from a long way off, penned by the hand of someone who’d been gone for a long time — and is homesick.
Author Frank Kafka once said:
Writing is the most personal form of prayer.
That being one of my favorite quotes, my first thought was, well sure! I’m writing to God! That has to be it, right? But the more I thought about it the more I knew I would NOT use some of that language if I were truly writing to God! I doubt very much he would appreciate it. So the idea of whom I was writing to became a puzzlement to me.
Then one day I was checking out author/artist Jan L. Richardson’s website. I had just finished reading her book In the Sanctuary of Women and was curious about the other part of her career as an artist. Believe it or not, she makes the most beautiful and unusual pictures from torn paper! And while exploring her gallery on her site, I stumbled on a picture that practically screamed at me. It was entitled Where I’m From. One look at it and I KNEW that whatever it was, wherever it represented, that was where I was from, too. Sounds strange, I know, but it felt almost like a homecoming for me, like I recognized the picture as a snapshot from my childhood.
To this day I haven’t quite figured out WHERE that home is, but neither am I plagued with an incessant need to know. I look at the picture and I just know that it’s out there somewhere. It makes writing my journals seem even more important because I know someone somewhere is at least aware of the stirrings of my heart and is waiting with great anticipation to see what calamity has befallen me now!
What about you guys? Do any of you feel as if you write your journals to someone special? I’m really curious.