I walk down this road of life.
I trip and fall into a dark hole.
I get up and continue walking.
Again, I trip and fall into a dark hole.
I climb out and continue walking.
Once again, I trip and fall into another dark hole.
Deeper this time, it is difficult to climb out.
But I pull myself up and walk on.
And again, I fall into a deep hole.
But I decide to stay awhile.
Eventually, I climb up the wall and back onto the path.
I fall into a hole.
I realize how dark, dreary, and lonely it is.
I decide to decorate, to make it cozier.
I hang a picture of me as a child, and I write in my journal.
I scream pain onto the page in silent words.
No one hears, so I stay in the hole.
Time goes by.
Though I believe I am secure and comfortable in my hole,
I begin to notice light up above.
I continue to write in my journal.
Then I hear a voice, calling to me.
He says he will help me get out of my hole,
He says, if I choose, he will walk with me on my path.
I think about it, but am frightened.
I know my hole.
I don't know outside, or down the road.
I am not sure I can trust the voice.
Yet he continues to call.
His words appear in my journal.
Finally, I agree to meet him.
He reaches down and helps me out of my hole.
I bring my journals.
He walks with me.
Just when I am about to trip into a deep hole,
He catches me.
We continue walking.
I sometimes almost fall into other dark holes,
But as I trip, he holds me.
I still skin my knees sometimes and he lets me cry,
but he comforts me.
We walk on.
And now He guides me down a different road.
I based this story on a poem I read many years ago. That poem did not have the journals or God calling to me, but it did end with learning to walk a new road. I have not been able to find the original author's name or even the original words. Over the years I have seen this idea of repeatedly falling into the hole, decorating the hole, and eventually choosing a new road, become a picture of my life.
I have a love-hate relationship with the journals I have kept on my journey. On one hand, they contain pain, struggles, and rebellion; times I do not wish to relive. On the other hand, they contain answers from God to my pleas, and they show how He has been at work in my life all these years.
My goal a while ago was to read through those journals to see what I could use in my writing. I was nervous about this project so decided this would be an exercise in research, not a reliving of the past. An emotional detachment was the key, or so I thought. I knew God was with me, holding my hand and ready to point out the gems of what He wanted me to share through writing.
And then I found myself again in a dark hole. Not because of my journals, but because of life circumstances which I found overwhelming. I returned to childhood coping methods I know do not work and once again believed the old messages of shame and worthlessness. Then I began to decorate my hole with pictures of everything wrong with me and my present life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder once again settled into the corners of the darkness, bringing alive all the negative emotions of childhood, the work I do, and cancer.
I was depressed, yes, but I was not afraid - I am not afraid. In the dark times, God is present. When I am struggling, God is at work. He will not ever leave me, Scripture says, and He never has, so I know He won't this time. He calls to me and reaches down to help me out of the hole again.
Emotion is part of the past as much as it is part of today. If I am to read and write from my life journals, I must do it acknowledging and including all the feelings and emotions, not as a dry research paper. Memories in my journals may be dark, but I believe I will also see where the Sonshine drew me out of the holes. Rather than being nervous about this project, I am now excited to discover and re-discover God's presence in my life and how He so gently leads me to walk with Him on a new road.
I have been sporadic in my journaling lately. Writing ideas are strewn about in various pretty journals, church bulletins, Bible Study notebooks, and even in my phone. Personal woes and joys are dated with months between the entries. I have found I miss having (making) the time to journal.
This month's posts have been inspirational, showing me how journals are a gift. I now realize that organizing the thoughts, lessons, and ideas in those journals is also a gift.
I think I'll start (another) new journal.
Photos courtesy of CCO License: hole - pexels.com; girl, journal - pixabay.com
Marnie struggles and journals in northern BC. Visit her blog, Phosphorescent, to read her adventures in absorbing and reflecting God's light in dark times.