Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Liturgy in the Home

It was Christmas morning and we were not happy to be around the tree.  I was an early teen and the details of the dissension are fuzzy, but the pall was palpable.  Whether it was sibling squabbles, work and school stress or something else, I only remember that my family could not bear to look at each other, much less celebrate Christ's birth together.  It seemed as if the tension would never end, but then my mom yelled that if we wanted to have Christmas, first we were all going to look each other individually in the face, tell the person that we loved them and give them a hug.  By the end we were all crying.  We each started with the easy person, the one that hadn't been giving us problems.  Some of the tears were a release of tension and some of them were because it was so hard to look at a person who had wounded you and forgive them.  In order to honestly tell someone's eyes that you love them, you have to forgive them.  To this day, it was one of the most difficult acts of will and obedience I've done, but mom was right and we went on to have Christmas with clean hearts.  That morning, we learned the hard way that Jesus came for our reconciliation with each other as well as with God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Journaling

Somewhere in a box in our shed is my first journal.  It is probably next to the first letter I received from a friend.  (She taped peanuts to the top of that letter and no one has sent me anything quite so interesting in a letter since then.)  The only entry I remember making in my scratchy writing was one where I described my concerns with the man my aunt was marrying. The end of their marriage years later confirmed my sixth grade concerns.  

Journaling was a habit I continued through much of my young adult and adult life.  I tried to pen worthy thoughts and find great quotes in my reading, but they frequently were about boys and my mysterious interactions with them.  As I grew in my faith, the entries became like prayers, but I suppose it isn't surprising that once I got married, I started "talking" to my husband instead of "talking" to my journal.

One of the ways I made my journals more useful was to regularly look back through them.  In my heyday, I wrote almost daily, so I would look back one year into the past and read my previous entry each day.  That practice was so encouraging.  I was able to see what struggles had diminished, areas where I had grown, and how prayers had been answered. It was endlessly interesting since humans (and our mothers) are fascinated with our own lives.

I will have been married ten years this summer and sadly, those married life entries fit into only two journals instead of ten.  That is changing.  I recently heard the term commonplace book.   Some people use them to store, in their best handwriting, only meaningful quotes from their reading.  Some include those quotes, their responses to them, their to-do lists, long-term goals, etc.  I've decided to morph my journal back into a "commonplace" type of existence.