It is January, a.k.a. The Month I Again Return To Journaling. I was an avid journaler from elementary school through early adulthood, filling nearly a hundred journals and notebooks with my thoughts and observations. Every time I completed the last page of a journal, I felt a rush of victory at having filled the book, mingled with regret that I would have to shelve this journal whose cover and pages I had come to know so well. Part of what made this regret so palatable was knowing that I now had an excuse to shop for the next journal. Oh, the happy hours I spent debating the options! Spiral coil or bound? White pages or ivory? 5x7 hardcover or 8.5x11 softcover? After making my selection, I would scurry to my favorite journaling site and crack open the new book, relishing the fresh pages and the possibility that lay ahead.
And then December of 1996 happened. I came home from a week away to find that a pipe in my tiny bungalow had burst and my basement had filled with two feet of water, submerging the wooden trunk that held all of my journals from my entire life. And all of the thoughts and prayers I had poured onto the page over the years were blurred into beautiful, haunting watercolors.
It was then that I lost my passion for journaling. It suddenly seemed futile, even ridiculous. Why spend all this time and effort rendering thoughts into words if I can't go back and read them, or pass them on to my children? What, really, is the point?
Of course, I knew the point. I knew that all of those words I'd carefully chosen, those thoughts I'd tried to painstakingly articulate, had shaped me merely in the writing of them. Would it have been rewarding to revisit those thoughts, to ponder them anew? Sure. But they had already done their work in me, and no amount of water could wash that away.
So I slowly, slowly, S L O W L Y have returned to a place where I am again interested in journaling regularly. I've made a few lame attempts the last several Januarys, but have always waned quickly. This year, though, feels different. In many ways, this year feels like my tipping point, and I am eager to process things in writing.
And what better journal to field my thoughts than this favorite PaperBlanks journal?
It has seen me through several failed attempts at journaling, and I am determined that it will finally get the consistent attention it deserves. Its binding is open, with several tidy folds of paper stitched in such a way that the pages lie perfectly flat without any effort on my part. The paper is creamy, and thick enough that ink does not bleed through. There is even a pocket in back to hold any ephemera I collect throughout the year.
Yes, this journal and I will spend some quality time together this year. And I am certain that I, my marriage, my kids, and my relationship with God will all be the better for it.