a journal in a dusty box in our basement

So this is going to sound strange, but I’ve been trying to figure out how to write a blog post about sometimes being too shy to post on my blog. I am literally always writing, and every once and a while I have this burst of inspiration where I get super excited to hit publish.

And then sometimes (a lot of times), I write tons of posts and leave them sitting there in the draft box. Or I find myself hitting the backspace key until there’s basically nothing on the page.

The other thing that got me thinking about this came as a result of traveling a couple of weeks ago. Steven and I went to Michigan to work with a producer who I actually met way back in high school on a youth group trip to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His band was the worship band at the meeting place for a few of the groups that were there during that week! This recent experience got me thinking about that high school trip, and I rummaged through a box of old journals to find the one that I had written in that summer.

First off: let’s talk about the little squares that I decorated this journal with (particularly the one that says “ew, i hate gossip” LOL – see photo below). Does anyone remember those websites that would have hundreds of little square photos and designs, and you could “right click save as”? I specifically remember spending a humid summer evening sitting at my desk in my childhood bedroom, powering on the bulky, ugly cream colored monitor that my dad had built out of used parts at a computer show (kind of cool, actually), connecting to the erols DIAL-UP internet and spending hours happily saving square photo after square photo to a floppy disk (so that I could transfer them to the family computer, print them out, and tape them around my room…and on notebooks). I can only conclude that this was a precursor to INSTAGRAM and how much I enjoy it now.


Anyway, back to the inner-contents of this journal that detailed the trip to New Orleans…

I laughed so hard at the ponderings of my 15-year-old self. I think I filled 40 pages of this notebook all during that week-long trip. And it’s because something in me desperately craved to write. To tell the story. To take everything in, and to remember it. There were a bit too many details (like the fact that one of our leaders was wearing a pac man t-shirt, and did you know that there is a burger place there called “Burger Orleans?”) I don’t think that those details necessarily need to make it into a blog post (except that they just did), but there are other details that could.

There was one day on this trip when a bunch of us were goofing around outside, and a police officer drove by shouting at us to get inside the building immediately, as there was a “man shooting a gun” in the area. So there was a group of 30 kids from the DC suburbs scrambling through the doors and running up the stairs in a panic. I read that I was sitting there against the wall in the locked building, thinking about how these kinds of things were very real, and unfortunately very common in the world. My relatively smooth life had kept me distanced from them, as it had to most of the people there. There are more nuances and details to this story – but essentially, one of our adult leaders spoke with us about life and death. She said something like “None of us can avoid death in this life, but what matters is what we choose to believe in and stand for while we are here.” She encouraged us to think eternally, to think outside of our “own little world,” and to pray for the person who was out in the streets with the gun. Yes, this just got really heavy, but that’s something I wrote down that summer. Later that evening, we were escorted out of the building and into our vans by some awesome undercover cops. To a bunch of relatively sheltered teenagers from Virginia, this was an experience. 

Apparently, my life changed big time that week. In rereading this documented story, I realized that I’m now at this point in life where, yes, it’s cool to write things in a journal… but maybe I shouldn’t just keep everything sitting in a dusty box in the basement.

Maybe it’s speaking your fears out loud that helps you overcome them. Or, in this case, writing about them. Do you have any experiences that you’d rather keep buried, but might actually resonate with someone if you told the story?