on putting pen to paper

My favorite part about moving anywhere is filling the bookshelf. I open the boxes and pull out little bound treasures and line them up, inch by inch, row by row. I turn the dog-eared pages and  each one takes me back to that place, wherever it was and whatever it felt like. Some of them are gorgeous classic stories and some of them are little manuals that have helped me through the rough patches of life and have continually pointed me upwards. And the best ones to read and remember are mine. My journals--the places where I've scrolled out long, winding thoughts--whatever I needed to provide the peace. 

I've journaled for as long as I can remember. One of the earliest journals I ever owned was a glossy Winnie the Pooh diary complete with lock & key. Having that little book all to myself-- purposed just for me to write whatever I wanted--made me feel important, like what I had to say mattered in the grand scheme of things. 

As I grew up, there were sparkly pink diaries with furry pens, then spiral bound notebooks of all shapes and sizes, and then the era of my obsession with all things paper-y (floral printed, moleskin, leather-bound journals--each one different). I think I'm still in this era because I seem to be pretty choosy when it comes to picking out a new journal.

But the aesthetic pleasure of it all isn't the only thing. It's the words that fill the pages-- the stories and joys and prayers and longings that take up line after line and the feelings that only show themselves between the lines. Journaling--words to paper--has been the most healing art I've every practiced. It's a way to celebrate and record life, and also a way to release pain and longing into something. And when I look back on all those pages with the story of my life written into them, I can see God's hand like a watermark held to light on some pages I thought were only filled with pain.

It is healing and special and such a gift to those of us who have the means to put pen to paper. So I encourage you to take what may seem mundane but is so perfectly raw--the scrawling of your own handwriting across lines and pages, maybe with a clenching hand--and watch as your words transform into something beautiful, a story and a life that is only yours to unfold.