Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Infamous Journal

Yesterday my dad shared some interesting and faith-promoting experiences he’d had on his mission. At one point, I told him, “You know, Dad, you should really write these down.” He said that some of them were written down in his mission journal. I wondered for a moment what it might be like at some future date to sit down and read the whole thing, like a book. What would it be like to share these growing experiences with my own father, as he was before I even knew him? What insights would it give me into his life? What treasures of wisdom could I gain from its pages?

Then I thought of my own journal that one day my own descendants will want to read. Here’s one word to describe it: Oops.

Since I own a journal, I often consider myself a regular journal-writer. Yes, sometimes it does require a mental leap to make that connection. Okay, a lot of times it does.

Whenever something memorable happens, I always mean to write about it in my journal. I always mean to remember those warm and funny moments, those times of spiritual stirring, those milestones in life. I always mean to write meaningful captions to the pictures I take during family get-togethers, and get them arranged into something that makes sense and captures those moments together.

But is “meaning to” good enough? What is the road to you-know-what paved with?

What important events have I failed to record recently? Let’s see…

  • The time I was volunteering at a huge music festival, helping empty Dumpsters to earn money for a sports club my son was in. I didn’t feel particularly comfortable in the noisy atmosphere, and wished for my shift to be over soon. Then my cell phone rang, and after my husband said some things to me I couldn’t understand over the noise, our stake president was suddenly on the line. He asked me if I could sustain my husband in a calling he’d just been issued. Of all things. Funny I could understand him clearly when I couldn’t understand my husband. I never thought I could feel the Spirit in that place!
  • Reading the latest Harry Potter book together as a family, and staying up till 2AM…and only being about halfway finished
  • The time my son wanted to count the wrinkles on my face. He told me to frown, which of course I tried very hard not to do; I didn’t want to know how many wrinkles I had! So he conked me on the head with his fist (softly, but it was still a surprise), and I immediately became cross with him. “Great!” he said. “There’s one wrinkle, and there’s one, and there’s another one…I take it I’m not in trouble, right, Mom?”
  • How we learned the hard way that if you drop a Bottle Cap candy into a can of Dr. Pepper, it fizzes up kind of like Diet Coke and Mentos. Don’t try this in the car.
  • Or how about ordinary things, like what we’ve done with our garden this year, or tricks our dog can do, or places we like to go on a Saturday afternoon?

Unfortunately, this is only the start of the list. It doesn’t include what I’ve already forgotten, for starters. Powerful experiences unfortunately fade with time. It’s important to record these before the impact lessens.

Well, at least now I have a few of these events recorded. It’s a start.


Marsha Ward said...

Great post, Katie. I wonder if blogging counts for journal keeping?

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Good job, Katie. You remind all of us the the joy of daily living should be recorded. I know that I as carefully the aged pages of ancestor journals, my historian's heart feels such a thrill to see the writing of someone from whom I came.

You never know, down the line, Katie how much your descendants will treasure your words.

Katie Parker said...

I dunno, Marsha. Do you think our blogs will still be around when our descendants are looking for our journals?

Wouldn't hurt to keep a hard copy of all your posts. It's a start.

And thanks for your comments too, Candace!

Tamra Norton said...

Great blog, Katie! I need to do so much better at the journaling. Like Marsha, I hope blogging and even book writing counts somewhere along the line. :) I hope my ancestors will at least know that I had an imagination.