Hardy Clemons:  “Treat your journal as a sacred object.”

 David Sedaris:  “A journal is a repository of ideas—your brains on a page.  A diary, by contrast, is your heart.”

 An important part of my life and travel is keeping a record of where I have been, when I was there, and what happened.   My first international trip was to the Holy Land, and the pilgrims in our group were given a small “Travel Diary” as a keepsake.  We were encouraged to add our own notes.  From December 26, 1985 until early January 1986, my friend Marion “Fuzzy” Thompson and I toured the sacred sites of our Christian heritage.  We also saw important Jewish and Muslim sites, e.g., the Dome of the Rock and Masada.  It was a life-changing trip.  My journal notes were, at best, rudimentary. 

Later, Bob and Mary Knox gave me “A Traveler’s Journal” in which I kept notes during our family’s six weeks in England and Scotland in the summer of 1992.  Sally, Jenna (age 17), Julie (age 9) and I had the trip of a lifetime and I kept a written record of our activities every day!  Better than pictures! 

I have maintained two kinds of journals over the years—one in which I am intentional about growing as a human being, setting goals, recording inspirational quotations, challenging myself, encouraging myself. holding myself accountable.  It is not a “Dear Diary” document.  These particular journals are designed for my evolution as a human being, getting unstuck from adolescent habits and attitudes.

A very different kind of journal that I sometimes keep is a daily record of my activities and thoughts.  I just finished keeping an account of my first half-year of retirement.  Sometimes I bore myself, and other times I gather my thoughts and have an “Aha” moment. 

Parker Palmer:  “From our first day in school, we are taught to listen to everything and everyone but ourselves.”

Hebrews 11: 8:  “He set out, not knowing where he was going.”

 John Irving:  “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.”

 My journals, while recording the past and the present, seem always to be pushing me toward some new idea or new place.

 Marion Aldridge


Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Health, Quotations, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Journaling

  1. An excellent distinction, Marion. My journal tends to be a collage attended to once every 6 months or so in which I record key things I’ve accomplished or enjoyed, and includes the odd photo and a copy/paste of emails about trips-in-progress that I wrote friends while away. I do an “executive summary” at the end of each year, and keep those together at the back of the journal. I’ve found it helpful to do a quick check on the sweep of a decade. Gosh how time flies! Did all that actually happen! So many wonderful images come back.

    If I’m having a problem, I sometimes write it out through my novels or by putting pros and cons on a page to help me think things through. But I never include these troubles in my journal. I find that one often goes to writing to exorcize demons while forgetting to note the happy times which one has been too busy enjoying to comment on. As a result, the negative can seem to overwhelm the positive in volume; and also that reading it can trigger the upsets one had long since put to bed.

    I like to have a journal that reminds me instead of all the graces and joys I’ve been fortunate enough to experience: A nice way to cheer myself when I’m down, and to remember my good fortune when I’m up.

  2. I kept a journal the first three years of Jim’s journey with dementia. It was most helpful to write down what happened that day, how I dealt with it, how I felt. It often was referred to when doctors wanted information. I think the fact that I haven’t added anything recently shows how I have educated myself to deal with the dementia and learned how to better care for him.

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