When my children were younger, I used to ask their teachers at the end of the school year to write a couple sentences about what they saw in my girls. I would then include it on the scrapbook pages that I did to capture that year. The one we remember the most was from Jenna’s preschool teacher. She described Jenna better than almost anybody since then and nailed some real specific attributes of hers. The line we always remember though, is "She has a running stride that is beauty personified." She was three! It seems ridiculous that you can even have a "running stride," but she did. Since then, running has been one of the most defining aspects of Jenna’s life.
Last week my big sister was here for a week to be with our mom. She was with her each day until about 7:00 p.m. We spent our evenings going through plastic tubs full of pictures and sorting them according to family. My mom already has bins for each of us with all the cards we had given her, memorabilia from our childhoods or even adult years and things she had written to us. I gave my sister an extra bag to "carry on" the plane that she packed with as many photos, cards and letters as she could. She has since been going through those at home.
Yesterday she emailed me to tell me that she had found some journaling amidst the things in her bin. One of them was from August, 1968 and was about me. At the end of a paragraph my mom wrote…
"There is something different and marvelous about her. Perhaps someday she will be a writer or artist or pursuing some artistic venture – who knows?"
My sister went on to write, "Deb, isn’t that amazing how mom called it… a writer, artisitic venture!"
I was just a child when my mom wrote that, just as Jenna was when those things were written about her. But how affirming and encouraging and exciting it is to have someone speak into your life and recognize your gifts, even decades later. My mom did not "scrapbook," but she wrote as many details as she could on the back of all her pictures. It wasn’t with a photo-safe pencil, but it is all still there for us to know and remember. My mom wasn’t a writer, but she still took notes as she walked through life. We’re finding tidbits of them now and they tell us so much, not just about ourselves, but about our mom.
From just this month’s experiences alone, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of journaling in my life. We don’t have to be a papercrafter, scrapbooker, writer, photographer or artist to do it. We just need to be those that value our lives and our families enough to take note, to jot a detail or two down or write a page from time to time. We may never know the encouragement it brings to those who read it many years from now, or how much it could help explain a particular chapter in our lives to those who come behind us.
I think this weekend, I will spend a bit of time labeling some of the tons of pictures that I have. I already have a tendency to write down all sorts of details that I observe, quotes that I see, lines that I love. Now, I will just tend to value those even more!
Taking note with you,