Long before I ever knew I was writer, I knew I was a journaler. I’m not sure why I was drawn to journal about the everyday moments of my life, but it was a practice that in my teen years became something I rarely missed. It was the quiet activity I did every night before falling asleep. I didn’t know about the positive research that had been done on the benefits of writing in a journal; it was just something I did because I enjoyed recording my thoughts and I wanted to be the historian of my own life’s adventure.
After marriage and young children, however, I found my journal entries becoming more and more sparse. It wasn’t a daily habit anymore, and I didn’t link my racing mind with piles of jumbled thoughts to the fact that I had given up on my daily journal.
Years went by and there was a lack that I didn’t even know was missing. Of course there were still days I wrote in my journal, but not consistently, and months of my life went unrecorded. It was not until I picked up my journal again to write near-daily in the middle of 2016 that a part of my heart began to fill–a part that had been empty for years.
Now I write almost every single day. Sometimes I do it at night, but more often, my practice is to write my “morning thoughts.” During my early morning routine, I pick up my journal (which is a composition notebook right now), and write everything that comes to mind. I write and write for as long as I have time. I write about gratitude, heartache, family events, cute things the children have said, ideas mulling in my heart, things I’m learning, questions I have, or anything else that comes to mind. I don’t write about everything everyday and even though there is no order or structure to what I write about, it helps to clear my head and bring me to a place of peace so I can begin my day at my best.
Do you have a practice of journaling?
I hope you do. But if you don’t, it’s never too late to start. You don’t have to say amazingly profound things, and you don’t need to catch up on all the years missed. Just start where you are and your pen will guide you. The Lord will guide you. And even as you are mentally blessed by penning the pieces of your life, you will also be creating a treasure for your future posterity as well.
From President Kimball whose words inspired me to begin the practice of keeping a journal, and who had 33 black binders of journals on his shelf when he became the president of the church, let me leave you with his words:
“What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.
“We hope you will begin as of this date. If you have not already commenced this important duty in your lives, get a good notebook, a good book that will last through time and into eternity for the angels to look upon. Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.”