Over the last few weeks, I’ve begun a process of de-cluttering. Sometimes stressful, but more and more therapeutic as I decide what to hold on to. Wow, we collect a lot of stuff when we stay put for a long time. As I’ve moved through it all, I found just how little is really worth keeping. So, out to the trash for most of it.
Through the process, I’ve come across a number of little journal books. With the best intentions, I’ve started quite a few for particular reasons, especially trips, but then once the trip is over, into a drawer or onto a shelf it went.
The only time I remained faithful to my journal writing was when I began a series of 8 day silent retreats based on the Exercises of St. Ignatius. Later, I would fill four journals during my almost eight month journey with Ignatius’ 19th Annotation (more about that another time). I’ve kept all my Ignatian journals together in one place, and I often turn to them when I need to remember the blessings and graces which flowed out of those retreats.
Another journal I kept safe on a shelf was written during my first big trip to Europe, way back in 1986. Without that journal, I would not be able to recall all the details of that great adventure, which began in Germany with my friend who was studying there, to meeting up with some of my family in Rome. Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s with seating just to the side of the main altar will be one of my fondest memories. Paris for New Year’s. I could go on and on.
A journal I had forgotten about was written on another trip to Europe, this time just to Italy. Thanks to numerous trips, I knew my way around that country quite well by then. On this trip, I journaled about the heart of places, of people and food and art. I wrote down the names of artists, of particular foods and wines which were outrageously good, all things which created a much more specific kind of travel journal. I had forgotten so much…
The last journal I’ll write about today was also one long forgotten. While I forgot about keeping a journal, I’ll always remember my Western Adventure with my family. We met up at the Denver Airport, then headed to Cripple Creek, where my father grew up. When my mom asked the person at the Historical Society where the Elk’s Lodge was, he first told us then called ahead, telling them that some “old timers” were coming up to look around.
Once we got there, my mom asked if the old piano was still there. It was, and a lady took us up to a large meeting room where the piano sat in the corner. Now, the story about this piano, which I heard for the first time on this trip, was that, when my father was a child, his mother used to play this piano while my grandfather played the fiddle. My dad and uncle used to fall asleep underneath as they played away. What an amazing gift it was to see that piano.
The rest of the trip took us through Montana, The Dakotas, and Wyoming, where I got to see and experience the Grand Tetons, mountains which took my breath away. How had I never heard of them before?
Well, this has been a long post, so it’s best to wrap it up. I wanted to share a bit about my own experience with journaling, and write that I regret not being as faithful to it as I should.
I’m so grateful to have written what I have over the years, since they provide me with a rich library of memories.
I think I’ll get back to writing daily. The pages are waiting… How about you?
Now, about that de-cluttering…