Thursday, August 29, 2013

To Write or Not To Write...This is a Really Good Question

Letters from the early 1900's written by Bess
I LOVE WORDS!  I'm not talking about the game everyone plays now a days. I mean words written in a letter, thoughts printed in a book, poetry and hymns, stories and conversations. Recently I was reading some old letters from Daryl's great-great-grandmother Bess' courting days in the early 1900's. Though I never met this woman, I felt as each page turned that I was getting to know bits of  her, almost as if she was personally sitting in the room, sharing her inner most thoughts. Carefully, I've placed these treasured letters into chronological order. Pieces of a love story emerged with each postmark.

Bess can't wait to get married and have a life all her own for she's grown weary of watching her brother's child. She longs to be with her "Fritz" out on the prairies of Montana, riding horses at his side. At one point she boldly asks him to shave his mustache off before their wedding because she's just not sure she'll like it. A couple years into their long distance courtship, she asks him to share his feelings and affections more openly with her, promising to keep the letters well hidden for she is sure no one will ever read them! (I laughed out loud as I read that last part. If she only knew that we'd be reading them 100 years later!)

I had an epiphany that day.I'd seen pictures of Grandma Bess before but that was where it'd ended...until the letters. Written words preserve the thoughts, the heart, the struggles and inner longings of an individual. A picture shows us what a person looked like, but only on the outside. More importantly though, a diary or stack of letters, like Bess', show us who they were in the inside.  This must be part of why God chose to put his story, his heart, in the written word, the Bible. To have it written perpetuates his message and keeps it from fading away, forgotten.

Anything worth learning is worth writing about.  I keep a journal...actually I keep a library of journals now.  I started my first one in junior high using a left-over spiral notebook from school. Actually, it was more of a crazy diary about boys that I had crushes on. As the years went by though, my journals turned into written out prayers that reflected the desires of a young woman who wanted to know what it looked like to love Jesus wholeheartedly. After kids, my journals recorded a wild ride of ups and downs, questions and joys, prayers for babies in womb and toddlers underfoot.  Some days, I'd draw little pictures to go with my thoughts. Other days, I'd end up tearing out and burning what I'd written! Yes, true,  there were some very dark journal entries when my heart despaired and grew hopeless about my so-called life. But the most beautiful thing now is looking back and seeing God's faithfulness through it all! When I look at my journals, it's like looking at a pile of rocks like the Israelites used to stack up to cause them to remember what God had done.

Some of the journals from these past years.  Not my "junior high journal" since I told my kids...not 'til I'm dead and gone!
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pull these "rocks" out and share with my youngest son some of the prayers I had written out about him over the years. We both enjoyed reading and laughing over them. From pregnancy to junior high we could see how God had answered my prayers for him. It was this day that I realized that there are parts of me I haven't revealed to my children... out loud. It was only when we looked at what I'd written that I even remembered certain things. This day at the counter, rereading through old entries reminded me of the importance of continually telling my children of God's faithfulness through life. Who knows, though I may not ever meet my great-great-grandchildren, someday they, too, may read through my journals. I guess I hope they might possibly get to know a very ordinary woman who left an account of a very extraordinary God!

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