I got back up tonight after going to bed. I knew it would be one of those restless nights, so I gave up and got up. I went upstairs to ‘my’ room. The room where my easel lives with my paints. My sewing machine also resides there. I don’t visit them often, so to go up there in the middle of the night is something different.
No, I did not finally unpack my easel nor the paints, and no, I did not start to sew anything. Instead, I opened up two of my old journals. The first opened was my first journal. The dates started in 1987. I was 32 years old. I thought I was so old and wise then. I sat reading, not skipping any pages for the first dozen pages. I then started flipping through sections of the book, reading whatever page I landed on.
It is amazing when you look back at different seasons of your life. When you think of your life, your memories are tinted with the color of time. I had saved my journals, I thought, for reflection and depth of thoughts. I hadn’t looked at them in over 20 years. That statement alone makes me feel old!
I was stunned by what I wrote. I honestly can not remember feeling what I did then. I put that journal down and picked up the next one. This was a booklet given to me by hubby. It is a prayer journal and there are different sections in it. There is a section for journaling. I went to that section. The beginning date was one in 1991. In the three years from 87 to 91, I could see changes in me. I could see that I was growing up.
I turned 59 over a week ago. That hasn’t bothered me at all. I really haven’t given it much thought, except to make comments to hubby about getting old and quickly rushing towards that big 6-0! Tonight, though, I thought about my age. I thought of the years since I wrote those journals. A parade of what has happened in the years since marched through my mind. It was a large parade.
I sat for several minutes thinking. In 1987, I felt old. I felt my life was almost over. I felt that things were not as smooth as I thought they should be. I was frustrated, angry, impatient with the direction of my life. Those feelings leaped off the page at me, shocking me and reminding me of what it was like to live like that. So many things weighed heavily on me.
In 1991, I was calmer. There had been growth. I had grown up, a little. Hints of insecurity were still lurking in the written words. But, the words were not harsh.
I stopped journaling in the late 90’s. For about ten years I wrote faithfully in several books. Pouring my heart and emotions out on the pages, trying to make sense of my life. Around 1996, I stopped journaling. I tried several times to take it up again, but, I never could.
It occurred to me, while walking back down the stairs tonight, that despite my best intentions, I grew up. Am I finished growing up? No, I really don’t think so. But, I can now see that I am older. I am a bit wiser, too, I think. I look at life differently now. I don’t struggle to make certain I am in the middle of living, trying to grasp events and wrangle them to the ground so that I can take part. No, I live. My life may not be exciting and full, but, I am at peace with it. Do I want more? I don’t know. I do know that I want to make a difference. I want, when my life is over and done, to have touched lives. I want my daughters to know they were loved deeply. I want them to know that my heart bursts with joy and pride when I think of them. I want to be remembered with smiles.
It has been an interesting couple of hours, not what I was expecting. I have learned though, that when there are lessons to be learned, time does not matter. So, late this night, or early this morning, however you look at it, I learned that I grew up. I learned that I did survive all those turbulent times I was struggling with some 25 years ago. I got through raising a family. I also did none of this on my own. Hubby was there, but most importantly, we were greatly helped by God. He was the One who gave me the strength to keep going when I was too tired, or too busy, or just too confused with the speed that life hurls by us. So, now, with what is left of this nighttime, I am going to head to bed. I think when you are old and wise, you should be in bed long before now… DAF
Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread
(Psalm 37:25, New Living Translation)