i’ve always loved to write.
when i was a kid, i used to take a spiral bound notebook and a pencil, hide out someplace where nobody would find me, and write furiously, convinced that i would pen the next great American novel.
my early scratchings were largely comical, usually about animals that could talk or kids who somehow ended up saving the world.
i always had painstakingly careful penmanship, just in case it was one day discovered.
when i hit junior high, my creative nature began to take hits, one after the other. imagination was largely discouraged by my peers, and no matter how hard i tried, i knew that i would just never fit in.
so, i started journaling.
i’m pretty sure that my first journal entry was when i was 11 years old, and i just sat down one day after school and poured out every piece of emotion that i was sure nobody else would ever understand.
it became a habit.
the other night, i was writing. not imaginative stories about far away lands or castles or animals that could talk, but an essay about something very academic and carefully structured to cover all the main points. i wrote for a very long time, so long that my forehead got this crease between my eyes, which always happens when i forget to smile.
apparently its common for people in grad school to have trouble sleeping, but it’s a problem i’ve never had before. i was always the lucky one who could lie down in bed and stare at the ceiling, blink twice, and next thing i knew, it was morning.
but that night, after i finished writing my essay, i couldn’t sleep.
i turned off the lights and my mind still raced. it was still full of intelligent thoughts, and i didn’t like that.
behind my head, in the frame of my bed, is a bookcase. i have filled it with volumes, about 12 to be exact. and every one of them is filled, pages on top of pages with my handwriting. my stories. my story, i guess.
so i picked one at random and pulled it out, turning to a page and reading. i picked up quickly on what season of my life it had been, and how i had been feeling.
my mom always told me that someday i would write a book. maybe she’s right. but until that day, i’ve written a whole bunch. which, hopefully, masses of humanity will never read.
but i read a quote several years ago that struck my fancy.
“the unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates said that.
i am inclined to agree.
i recognize that not everybody writes down the details of their life to reread when insomnia hits. but i also know that those books chronicle my life in a way that is incredibly enlightening. i can tell you, for a fact, that i am not the same person now as i was when i was 15 years old.
[hopefully, i don’t need to read a journal to know that’s true].
but even two years ago. or 6 months ago.
my life feels like such a gift. when i look back on those pages, i’m reminded of the immense grace that God has shown me over my lifetime. i’m also humbled by the foolish mistakes i have made. and, i’m inspired by the hand of a Creator who put everything in place while i didn’t even notice.
sometimes examining my life is required. after all, i certainly don’t want to make the same mistakes now as i did 10 years ago. but, also… i can see now what i couldn’t see then.
when i reflect on the books i’ve written, i see that my life is a big story. and i believe that it’s being written by a God who loves me.
and i believe that with all my heart.
and i believe that He takes great joy in writing my story with me, just like i got excited with my notebook and pencil when i was a little kid. there’s so many possibilities.
it says in the Bible, in psalm chapter 139 verse 16: “all my days are written in Your book.”
when i read stuff like that, i picture God with a huge bookshelf full of books, with pages on top of pages with handwritten notes about who i am, who i will be and the journeys that i take.
my life is being written.
and i think i have the best author.