This is one of those posts that gets my heart pounding before I write, because I know this might get messy. So I’m doing it anyway, before I either forget too much or lose the nerve to write it out. I don’t expect much of this to make sense to you reading this –but I’ve been wanting for a while to write this out, and maybe there will be some seed of what I write here that will connect with someone. You never know.
I’m home this morning, with pink eye of all things. Not necessarily because I’m contagious, but because I look like I’ve been crying for the last two hours (I haven’t). I look a mess, and in the remote case I am contagious, well, I figured it the better part of wisdom to stay home.
I’ve mentioned a bit here and there about the transformation I’ve been experiencing in the last couple months. I haven’t yet mentioned one of the things that started it. Sometime in early December, I acted on my long-considered decision to destroy my diary from high school and college. It wasn’t an act of anger or shame, just healing. Not healing as in a need to forget –but sort of the opposite.
I wrote back then as therapy more than anything else. I had friends to talk to, but there were times I was dealing with things I was convinced no one would understand if I spoke them out loud.
That day in early December, I found the little pink volume where I’d put it in the back of my dresser, fumbled with the lock (still remembered the combination, it was one of those Hallmark ones with the combination lock –what they didn’t mention was that every one of those diaries, every one that I encountered at least, had the same combination), and looked through it one last time. Because of my chosen method of therapy, I can to this day remember what date it was when certain pivotal moments in my life happened. Occupational hazard of journaling, I suppose. I glanced through some of what I wrote on those days, and felt only more resolve to follow through with my decision.
What I realized was that there was a lot of me locked in that little pink book. It was a concrete metaphor for how I’d lived my life. The me I presented on the outside was filtered, leaving only the part that I felt it was safe to let through. It was time to let the girl in that book out. I will admit that the reason I originally felt an urge to destroy those pages was fear that if someone read them today, they wouldn’t get the necessary context and I couldn’t bear the idea of what I meant for therapy and prayer being used as a biographical tool someday when I’d never intended it to be a memoir. There was a lot of me in that book, but really, only part. As I fed the pages in to the shredder, a few days at a time, and the shreds of my handwriting fell into the basket, it wasn’t fear I was feeling. It was mingled joy and relief.
This apparent act of destruction was a ceremony of creation for me, an act of completion. It was a sacrifice, a conscious decision to incorporate the me that I’d left locked in that diary for more than twenty years into who I am today. It was an act of freedom. It was a realization that those days weren’t as good as it would get, after all. The days I journaled then, that I thought at the time would be as close as I could come to life as I longed for it to be, were only a foreshadowing of the gift of the life God has given me today. I couldn’t have known that the dreams I had then were too small, too limited. I didn’t know that the path God would send me down in the days after the pages of that journal were full, a path that was so very different than the one I’d hoped to travel, wasn’t a rejection of the life-gift I’d hoped to present to Him, but his grace and mercy poured into my life.
It wasn’t God that was refusing a gift –it was me.
Releasing that diary and bringing the part of me that was locked up together with the me that I’d been helped me see my life differently. It opened me up in a way. I stopped arguing with God over taking risks with my writing. I started seeing that if the gifts and talents I were given weren’t of my own doing, my own striving, but a gift, I didn’t have to doubt my ability, just use it. The rest was in His hands. He delights in using weak, flawed people -why should I be any different?
So, I shredded my diary. Sounds odd, but I kind of consider that an act of worship, in a way. It was a way of thanking God for who He made me to be, all of me, and a reminder that even though those pages themselves are gone, the girl who wrote them has grown into a woman who will not forget the journey that took me through those pages and to the person I am living the life He has gifted me. I am so blessed.