As I was digging through my closet the other day, I rediscovered the fact that there is a shelf in the back of it, hidden behind my hanging clothes. (Please note, family members: the clothes were hanging, not piled.) Stacked on the shelf were a bunch of my old journals.
Now, I've never been very good at keeping journals, but, for some reason, when I travel, I become somewhat more disciplined about such things. This means that I have a pretty faithful record of my travels in Spain and my year in Guatemala. (The only other time I tend to write in journals is when I'm in a horrible, horrible mood, so, other than records of my travels, my journals consist mostly of hysterical rantings. So, if I die young, burn them.) :)
Rereading things that I wrote years ago is always a half-pleasurable, half-painful experience. Sometimes I laugh at the person that I was then-- so concerned about such silly things, so bad at reading myself and other people. Sometimes my laughter is mixed with embarrassment that I would think--much less write-- such things. Sometimes I'm surprised to remember struggles I had, concerns that seemed to overwhelm me, because they seem so petty now. And sometimes I'm surprised because they seem so relevant to the things I am experiencing right now.
The journal that I wrote in while I lived in Guatemala was a graduation gift. The inscription in the front reads, "May this journal give you a way to always remember how God has blessed you and allow you to watch the growth that is present in your life." I'm not sure that I really paid attention to that inscription before, but the wish it offers has come true. This journal chronicles so much about who I was then, who I had been before, and who I am now. (So I guess this one journal can be exempt from the burn pile.)
While rereading this journal has provided me with enough entertainment to last awhile (see excerpts below), it's mostly been an encouragement to me in seeing how far I've come. So many struggles that I had then seem so unimportant now, so many issues that I thought would never resolve have been resolved. Mostly, it serves as a record of God's faithfulness to me. Things that I wanted that I shouldn't have had, I didn't get. Things that I didn't want but got anyway have truly proved to be blessings.
Sometimes I forget these things. Sometimes my current problems and concerns seem so big that I lose perspective. Sometimes I seem to be moving so slowly that I forget how far I've come. But God is faithful. And, every once in awhile, I'll dig out this journal to remind myself.
A few highlights from my Guatemala journal:
Skippy (7th grade) told me that, for his birthday, he wanted me to swear in Spanish. I didn't comply with his request.
The eighth grade girls told me that they thought I was going through menopause.
My host mom told me I look like a barbie, based solely on my fair skin and curly hair, since I'm pretty sure I'm not proportioned right.
The eighth grade girls attributed my singleness to the fact that I "talk about math all the time."
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