Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just For The Record

Last night, as I was looking through some books on my shelf, I came across my missionary journal. I didn't have much to do, so I opened it up and began reading. I haven't opened my journal up since my mission. In fact I have never even read any of the entries. I had written down my feelings and experiences (so I thought) and haven't really thought about them since.

It turns out that I wasn't very articulate or expressive as a 19 year old kid. Big surprise there. I used the words 'awesome' and 'cool' a lot. When describing teaching experiences I often wrote something to the effect of, 'the spirit was so strong'. What does that mean? As I was reading my journal entries I found that I was a little irritated with myself because I hadn't been more descriptive. I thought I was doing a good thing by keeping a journal. Keeping a journal is good, but I think it's better when you actually put your thoughts and feelings down instead of vague words and phrases. I do feel confident that I have some good thoughts and ideas written down, I just haven't discovered them yet. I wish I had written down more of the things I had learned and not only the day to day experiences. I look back now and I want to know what things were taught in my district meetings which caused me to write down the phrase 'the spirit was so strong'.

This experience helped me to understand the importance of keeping a journal, or diary, or blog, or some form of life record. As a child, it seemed to me, I would often see my mom writing in her journal. Her journal wasn't anything fancy, just a spiral bound notebook she would write in. For family home evening, she would attempt to teach us the importance of keeping our own journals. I remember a few times, the activity after the lesson was to make our own journal with notebook and construction paper, and then to write in it. I'm sad to say that those journals usually had just one or two entries before the were forgotten.

Even more sad to me is that I haven't done very well at keeping a journal since I came home from my mission. The past 10 years of my life are recorded only in my mind. It isn't very good that my mind is the only place where those memories are kept. Memories need to be written down. I'm not saying that I'm old, but I already forget things that have happened last week, let alone the past 10 years. I've decided to make a better effort at keeping a journal. Not only for me look back, reflect and learn, but hopefully someday my posterity will be able to learn as well through my thoughts and experiences.

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