June 25, 2017

It's not only about the rant By Vickie Stam

A self guided tour. An exploration of my heart. A much needed respite. A time out. A place with no restraints. In it, there's just one voice and no visitors. I'm free to be me! Ah.....the journal.

The pages safeguard a world that no one else sees. They provide a place to relinquish my pain, face my fears and find purpose among the good and the bad. Yes, in my journal I can write about anything and everything. 

Still, a journal is not for everyone. I learned this while I was enrolled in one of my writing classes. 
   "Journals are just a place where people can rant!" A fellow classmate spouted during a fifteen minute coffee break. A dribble of spit landed on her chin. On her own rant, she never realized it was there.

She refused to offer up one positive thing. In fact, she waved her hand in the air so as to stifle our conversation; put an end to the misery she seemed to feel at the mention of journal writing. Startled by her sudden outburst, everyone went silent.     

Her negative tone certainly caught me by surprise. I couldn't help wondering what was so wrong with ranting in a journal. No one else knows you're ranting and besides that, doesn't everyone need to sound off at some point in their life?    

I remember a time when my two sister's, my mother and my niece would meet me for a day of shopping and lunch. This had become a regular habit of ours, one that we all looked forward to. Filled with excitement, I would make the 45 minute drive to Hamilton to pick everyone up. There was nothing better than, "a girl's day out!"

"So where are we going today?" I would ask when they all piled into the car. Everyone seemed to chime in at once. A burst of laughter always followed. Life was good. 
But amidst all of this fun, my sister Karen decided to move to Prince Edward Island, a place she had come to love while vacationing there a few summers in a row. Angela moved to Bala, enticed by a new job position. Bala is only a 4 hour drive from Hamilton, except that she doesn't drive. And then, my mother passed away after a brief bout with cancer. Inside of a few short weeks, that ripple affect brought our 'girl's day out' to an abrupt halt.    

Eight years ago my life changed once again. I suddenly found myself feeling more alone than ever. Thankfully I had my journal. Tears became my constant companion. My prayers - not so pretty. 

I really hoped that my sister, Karen would change her mind about moving to Prince Edward Island. I knew it was wrong, selfish really. But, I could hardly imagine my life with her being so far away.  

I needed to a place that would not only provide solace, I also needed a place to - you know - RANT. 

My journal hasn't judged me. I've been free to put away my fake smile, let the tears flow and despise the things that have caused me pain. Go ahead and have a pity party. I've never heard the pages telling me, "not to party too long." 

Journaling reminds me that everything will be okay. They provide an inexpensive therapy in the emotional seasons of my life.  

I remember watching an episode of Downton Abbey. One the main character's, Anna said it best when she said, "All God's creatures have their troubles." I'm afraid she's right. God never said that my life would be without trials.  
2 Corinthians 4:8 "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair"

Unfortunately, there have been times when I have felt, 'hard pressed on every side.' In those moments of despair, I want that place where I feel safe to complain. Question God. "Why didn't you (God) tell me - whisper in my ear - give me some sort of a warning......"  You knew this was going to happen long before I did!"

Even so, it isn't all about the rant. Included among my tales of woe are the triumphs. My visits to Prince Edward Island. No - she hasn't changed her mind about living there.    

My journal is truly my safety-deposit book! I can make as many deposits as I want. And when I want to. It's a place that provides protection for every account of my life - rant or other.    


  1. I love the line about the safety deposit book! So true!

    1. Hi Vickie! Your words drew me in right from the beginning. I sense such comfort and freedom in how you see your journal. I think my post and this one you have expressed could be partners.
      I felt for you when you wrote, "Inside of a few short weeks, that ripple affect brought our 'girl's day out' to an abrupt halt." It reminded me of how our lives can change so quickly. I also sensed such grief in this loved part of life with the "girls." Wow, Vickie, you write from a deep place in your heart. I love reading your posts my friend! Let's connect sometime! My email is caledomiaspirit@gmail.com.

    2. So true, Alan. I thought the same thing when I read your post - like we were in the same room. Look forward to connecting with you.

    3. A safe place is something that journal writing provides and it seems to be a common thread among journal writers.

    4. I'll keep an eye out for your email Vickie!

  2. You express the true essence of journaling here. "A self guided tour. An exploration of my heart. A much needed respite. A time out. A place with no restraints. In it, there's just one voice and no visitors. I'm free to be me!" It rather amazes me that there are those whose control goes so far that they even want to control what others write (or rant haha) in their own journals!! Thankfully you do not listen to such nonsense and continue to journal to your hearts content. It is evident through your post that your life is much richer for it :)

    1. Thanks Gloria! My journals reflect so much about my life and what I've been through. I do feel free to be me.

  3. Inexpensive therapy - yes good point Vickie! I loved your rant (your post, ha ha!).

  4. Well said, Vickie. Your blog resonates with me too, especially your two opening paragraphs that define what a journal is to you. That's what it is to me also--"pages (that) safeguard a world that no one else sees." Yes, it's okay to rant in our journals and pray and sing and and extol and ramble . . .

    I also enjoy how you describe your classmates "rant" about journals just being a place to rant."


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