When I was in college I used to give into major self-induced guilt trips over not doing a morning and evening devotional. I lacked the time, and moreso, the interest. Most devotion books were too weak and watered down, and basically just lame. I tried a few good ones but didn't really devote much time or energy or money to finding anything really fantastic. Anyway. So one day I was lounging in an unrelated guilt trip over my self-centeredness and my lack of involvement in ... much of anything worthwhile, and the thought struck me: I do notice the small things and they make me happy. I do laugh easily. There is a lot out there that I know I see and am thankful for, if only I'd just notice it.
So I pulled out one of my empty journals (knitters have yarn stashes, handymen have hardware stashes, writers have journal stashes) and wrote down five things from the day that I could be grateful for.
I did this pretty consistently every day for the duration of my senior year in college, and a little bit on and off since then. I misplaced the journal during the Many Moves of 2007, but I found it again the other day. It was sometimes amusing, sometimes a happy discovery of a forgotten memory, sometimes a reason for sad reflection (or maybe GRATEFUL reflection that I'm not in the same spot anymore!!).
Now, I'm not sure what to do with it. It's the original record and it is only about halfway used up. Plenty of good writing space. Lots of memories associated with it - not all of them things that I'd like to memorialize...most of which pertain to a relationship in particular that I don't want to be reminded of regularly. It's the past. It's way-removed past. Part of me wants to keep it there...stash it in the 'old journals' box and start fresh. I don't want to be reminded of where I've been, the days when it felt like a struggle to find any joy or contentment or reason to live. That record doesn't belong at my bedside...does it?
At the same time, there's plenty of space left for the present and future. Lots of room for redemption and celebration and recording new joys and new challenges. Progress isn't much good if you lose sight of where you've been. And what's more annoying than a partially empty journal?