Are you, or have you ever been, someone who keeps a regular journal?
I started journaling when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, but back then, journaling was mostly for the purpose of written prayers and that concept of a “quiet time” or studying the Bible and writing down thoughts from it.
Before that particular idea of journaling was pushed on me, though, I just wrote down my little-kid thoughts, current crushes, and scribbles of poetry here and there. I am so glad now that I have those journals.
I wrote about this in my book, Native:
One afternoon as we were getting ready to move from one house to another across town, I was going through old contain- ers of our belongings. The week before, my therapist asked me if I had any journals from when I was young, and I found them, beginning in fourth grade, right after my parents divorced. I found journals with notes on every sin I believed I’d committed, every shame that hung over my head. I told God I was sorry more than I reminded myself that I am loved and valuable and sacred.
The church taught me to view my life as a series of boxes to be ticked off, every day a choice: Did you save someone’s soul from hell, or didn’t you? Did you sin, or didn’t you? Were you pure, or weren’t you?
And yet, I hope something different for my children. I hope something for their future that begins with the sacredness of whothey are, that begins with the sacredness of this earth and the many gifts she pours over us day after day. Maybe they will be the ones who fight climate change, who save our rainforests, who write in their journals, “I know I am beloved, I know this earth is beloved, I know my neighbor is beloved.”
It’s kind of wild if you think about it, the prospect of having dozens of notebooks that will be there after we pass on. I don’t want to burden my own kids with all of those, and yet, at least while I’m here, they matter to me. Journals are a written testament to the life I have lived.