When I was in 2nd grade, someone gave me a diary for my birthday. It was the coolest Lisa Frank piece of art I’d ever owned and it was mine-all-mine including padlock with key I hid inside my pillow case.
Yes, this little diary held all of my deep dark secrets – like which boy I liked and which girl was just the worst at recess that day.
And in that diary was written the story of my life – for about 4 days, until I petered out, forgot, or got too tired to wait up at night until my sister was sound asleep so I could get my super hidden secret diary out of its super secret hidden spot and write all my juiciness in it.
Same thing with my diary from 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades.
Same thing with any journal or workout digest or trapper keeper full of good intentions.
I have a book on my shelf that I just can’t seem to part with. It’s a year reading plan of the Bible, broken into a daily reading of the Old Testament, a Psalm or Proverb, and then a New Testament reading. I find it challenging to read because I miss the continuity of the story.
So why can’t I get rid of it?
Inside the front cover is a note from my Grandpa. It was a gift from him and my Grandma one Christmas and most of the time, my Grandma picked out the gifts and signed his name. He’d even ask us what my Grandma had gotten us that year.
But this, he had a hand in, because right there in the front, in his tall and narrow penmanship there is a note about the Bible having the answer to any question I would have in life.
So I keep it.
Because it’s a part of my story.
When we had our first baby, I wrote a letter to my husband. Having the “if the worst should happen” talk was challenging to say the least and I wrote down my few thoughts on a letter, folded it, and put it in my Bible. It just made the most sense.
And I said to him “If you ever need to find something important of mine, check my Bible.”
It occurred to me that most of the words that come out of me besides my very long soliloquies of directions I give to apparently no one all day long are typed rather than written. My fingers glide across a keyboard leaving words that build sentences that build paragraphs that are sent out into the world.
It dawned on me that as familiar to me as my Grandpa’s handwriting is, my handwriting may never be that familiar to anyone. Ever.
My 2nd grade diary would be recognizable only by me. The fat letters and the over exaggerated A’s a mark of me trying to do my own thing.
My college notes, probably the most copious volumes of hand written anything to ever come out of me have long since met an incinerator.
And my handwriting sometimes feels foreign to me when it’s been days since I’ve written more than a spelling list or grocery list.
A few years ago, I started a thankfulness journal. And something felt so natural about doing it on paper. Not on my phone. Not in an app. Not even in a book or other journal.
Just a tiny little notebook, dedicated to being thankful.
And as my pen starting bursting forth with the things I was thankful for, I saw my story coming out.
My story coming out, in my own handwriting, like I could touch it, smell it, taste it.
Like when I pick up my 2nd grade journal, and my 2nd grade world became vivid once again.
My story is very real and it jumps from the pages, each line of thankfulness a memory and story that is remembered and forgotten, sometimes all at once.
I thought to myself that one day my kids would read it. They would find the journal and they would read it and they would see for themselves the gigantic and completely minuscule things I am thankful for day in and day out. They would see their names, over and over again, and stories about them. Leaping from the page then leaping from their memories.
They would get to know me better through those pages and they would see things from my perspective. Maybe not at first, but one day, reading those words and those true things would have an impact on them.
So I wrote it by hand.
My weird scripty S’s and curly F’s and H’s and would let them see things about me. About my personality. About our story, theirs and mine, and how much it meant to me.
We all have a story to tell. I tell mine in a journal that I use during Bible study, a thankfulness journal, a journal I keep of my kids quotes along with letters to them, in copious emails to my husband, and here, with you.
You have a story to tell too.
And whether you know it or not, your story is important. It has an impact. The words you weave together in thought or verse or written out are important. They inspire. They invite people in. They give people the chance to know you in a different, deeper way.
I never wake up in the morning, looking for one more thing to add to my to do list. Naturally, more things get added all day long as we work our way through school and work and life and eating and all the laundry because it never ends.
I never think “Man, I’ve just got to journal this out”. For all the words that come out of me, that’s never been a compulsion of mine.
And I never think that I’ve got it all figured out. I’m too much of a hot mess for that.
But I do know my story matters. And so whether that’s scrawled in the margins of my Bible, in a notebook, online, or in an epic princess story about the kingdom of Radish and the Hamburger Knights, I choose to tell my story. Invite people in. Let them get to know me, even when it’s tender.
Your story is important.
Find a way to share it.