I think I’ve acquired a journaling addiction. I’ve got three I’m working on right now, simultaneously! When I was younger, I hated the idea of journaling. I would get a pretty book, get maybe three pages into it and my hand would cramp up even though I still had many more thoughts to get through. I have a bookshelf of the mostly empty end products. In high school, blogging websites like Livejournal and Xanga were popular, saving my achy digits, but they never held my attention long enough. Something about a website with thousands of people’s teenage angst just wasn’t what I was looking for.
However, since coming into full communion with the Catholic church three years ago, I find that my life got flipped-turned upside down – and for the better. But it’s all happening so fast! In the bigger scheme of new jobs, new apartments, and new friends, I was forgetting the little nuances and quirks that I see God’s love in. So I started journaling. And this time, I’ve stuck to it, particularly for two reasons.
The reason I think I’ve succeeded so far is that I have a clear theme in mind for my journal(s). I started with a journal for vocation discernment and it’ll be the first time I’ve ever filled a journal cover-to-cover. When it came to discernment, I felt like I was grasping at sand; God’s calling was slipping through my fingers and I couldn’t get a solid grasp on it. I turned to journaling so I could keep track of what (and when) exactly I felt God’s calling to be.
There’s also more creative topics you could do. For example, my older brother once wrote an entire journal without using any spaces or punctuation. I myself keep seperate journal for each topic I write about, just for clarity’s sake.
The reason I journal is because pen and page is more reliable than short-term memory. More often than once have I forgotten some genius idea. I saw a meme once that said “The biggest lie I tell myself is, ‘I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.'” Journaling is my means of time travel. I can re-read old entries and I remember where I was when I wrote it and what was going through my mind at that time. Then I see where I am now and the path the Lord has led me on between the two points. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of grace I see in my life this way. The struggles of the past melt away into virtues of the present, and I can see them much more clearly when they’re written down, unfaded by my forgetfulness.
Time and time again, we hear the Eucharist explained as Jesus’ true presence, true body and true blood, but our human senses fail to comprehend it. I’ve learned that our memory fails to comprehend God’s true presence in our lives, too. Think of the Footprints allegory, where the protagonist’s memory fails to grasp that the Lord carried him through his trials. This is the reason I journal, and I invite you to, too, especially now in the Year of Faith. We are on a journey, even now in our everyday lives, and journaling helps us to see where we have been and where we are going. It’s quite an adventure!
Photo via Pinterest.