Stories from a life in progress.


Over the past two years I've become a regular journal-writer. I have a pile of really cheap notebooks and a handful of quite nice pens, and I spend time nearly every day using the one to fill up the other. Page after page of whatever I'm thinking or feeling, a lot of it completely trivial, some of it insightful, some of it heart-wrenching, some angry, some silly, some of nearly everything ends up in my pages at some point or other.

I haven't written in my notebooks in a while. Entries for September are sparce, and it's been a couple of weeks since I made a proper entry. Not really surprising, considering what the last two weeks felt like. You don't really want to poke around in what you're thinking or feeling too closely when smothered under anxiety, and if the thoughts do slide in that direction, what comes out is a lot of hurt and not much coherence. In my experience, anyway.

I'm feeling better today. Medications are doing their work, and I feel a lot more like myself ... but I find myself still reluctant to open up my notebook and uncap a pen. The lack of writing is starting to feel a little bit like avoidance.

Journal-writing has become my way of figuring out how I am doing, what's bothering me, what I think about something or feel about something else. Without putting words down on paper, I can hardly articulate what's going on inside me. I can tell the broad strokes today are "much better than last week" and "want to actually do some stuff," but I can't tell what's hiding underneath that. The feeling of not wanting to write usually means there is something hiding, and I'll have to dig it out sooner or later -- whether or not I ever want to.

There's more, though. A lot of the time my journal entries turn into conversations, my own pondering opening up to ask God what he thinks about what I'm thinking about, or to tell him something that I need to say (he knows all about it already, but I don't until I manage to say it). I haven't been writing, so those conversations haven't been happening either. I feel estranged from my notebooks, and a bit estranged from God as well. And I'm not looking forward to digging around in that space-between, not knowing what is there. I'm afraid there's hurt to be spoken -- this is really hard, Lord, fighting with my body and feeling like I'm losing. I'm afraid there's some anger -- why are you making me suffer with this, anyway? I don't want it, and why will you not take it away? Worst of all, I think there's simple fear, and I'm so tired of being afraid. I don't want to have to admit that I'm afraid of getting worse again, afraid of something else in my body going wrong, afraid of having to go through more suffering. I don't want to, I really don't want any more. But God doesn't promise there won't be any more. He says he'll be right here when we do suffer, but he says that because he won't promise to take all our suffering away.

I'd rather he did promise that. I really, really wish he would.

I'm not sure I'll face my notebook today. Maybe it's too soon, maybe another day I'll find myself naturally drawn back. Part of me misses it. A lot of me misses my silent conversations with God, where he doesn't always promise what I want him to, but where he always listens and loves me, whatever I bring in.