Monday, September 01, 2014

Published 11:41 AM by with 2 comments

I Take My Waking Slow

Most of my journals from years past have been destroyed, by my own hand. Since I was eight or nine years old I would write in what I called a diary or journal, but afterwards I was always so appalled at what I'd written or focused on that I would read back and just shred the pages. I don't really regret it. Everything from the last three journals has been saved, though. What I've written in these are notes, quotes, problems, schedules, dreams, puzzlements. These last three books were where I really began to honestly set down what was in my head, not what I thought I should write, and not just drivel.

I name my journals. Sometimes I will know what the name is going to be before I begin. Often I have to wait for the middle or end of the book to know what the title will be, because it is supposed to reflect what is happening in my life at the time of the writing. Different seasons of life bring different modes of thought, different patterns of growth or stagnation or questions.

The sparsely written period of time from when I graduated college and found my footing afterwards is vague for several reasons. I was trying to be who I thought I should be, but beginning to question many things, still on the down-low. That journal is called "Between the Lines", because that's where I was looking to see what answers might be hidden away.

The journal from the past two and a half years is called "Yes, You May". I had begun to understand that there IS no box except the one you create around yourself. The struggle has been to find out what exactly is best to DO. I am a believer of Christ and a follower of God, but the more I searched for answers, the more I found grey areas, where I had previously been told there was only black or white. I knew that I had to ask the hard questions myself. The only safety net is that God is good. I do not have to blindly accept someone else's standards, someone else's interpretations, someone else's rules, without testing them against the white-hot fire of God's grace, holiness, and freedom first.

This has led me to the end of the journal. It has gone beyond asking God who He is, to asking who I am. I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton's book "The Man Who Was Thursday":

Next morning the battalion of the reunited six marched stolidly toward the hotel in Leicester Square. "This is more cheerful," said Dr. Bull; "we are six men going to ask one man what he means." "I think it is a bit queerer than that," said Syme. "I think it is six men going to ask one man what they mean."

There are also hints of these verses from 1st Corinthians in my writing:

"All things are lawful for me", but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me", but I will not be enslaved by anything.

My new journal begins today. I don't know what its name is yet. I purchased a small black notebook with the last of my gift card to a local art store, which goes inside the leather journal case that I've had since I was fourteen. It has contained more notebooks than I can remember. Leather really lasts forever; this cover has seen snow, rain, wind, and sun, half the states, traveled across the world, and stayed with me for almost half my lifetime, yet it still looks almost new.

So I open up the blank pages to ask: "Who? Why? What?" There will be examining. There will be more questions. Thank God that questions are not condemned. There will be plenty of listening. Exploration of what it means to love. Processing through writing. Going back to the Word. Going back to the Spirit. Going back to my heart.

There will be stories. Oh, there will be many stories, written down in the privacy of my own book, and some that will be shared here, because I think eventually all stories are meant to be shared. I really appreciate the mood and manner of how this last journal ended, so I want to continue the new one in the same path. I am trusting that I will be led where I need to go.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

~ The Waking, Theodore Roethke



Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom said...

Ooooh, how wonderful and delightful. I have started so many journals and then give up on them. I love the power that this kind of documentation can have... connecting with God, recording your questions, and His answers. What a beautiful journey.

Thanks for sharing (and for including this post in the #SHINEbloghop)!

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Lyssa said...

Thank you for hosting the blog hop! I love the journey that having a paper journal now allows me to track.