When I was a young girl…barely teenaged…I was flown to Ohio with my younger brother for the summer. Things at home were making a turn and my parents felt it best that us young people were cleared from the damage zone for a bit.
Our desitnation? Grandma’s house, Ohio. I was 14 years old. I had a boyfriend…I had a best friend…I had a life at home. Getting on a plane with my 10 year old brother and flying across the country to live with grandparents that I hardly knew was not my idea of a great summer vacation…in fact, I was miserable.
I knew enough to know that life at home was changing…the smell of “difference” hung thickly in the air, but what change was threatening to burn thru my reality? Youth stood in the way of my wisdom for awhile…God’s hands over my eyes as He knew that I would figure it out soon enough and once knowledge moves in, well, you can’t undo the growth it causes in you.
As we walked into my grandmother’s house, unsure and oddly bonded, my brother and I took in a room that was softly darkened by impending evening…and upon the dining room table were two items. Forgive my lack of memory at what was to be my brother’s “welcome to our home” gift as that escapes me…but what I do remember was the thoughtful gift that was to be mine.
The book was small…covered in pastel colors and a small amount of silver sparkle. A girl was painted on the front and next to her was a small gold lock. Through the loop from the back to the front cover was a silver string from which 2 tiny keys hung. As I lifted the small book marked “Diary” to eye level, my nose was overcome by the strong smell of perfume that eminated from the multi-colored pages. I brought it closer to my face as my eyes met my grandmother’s.
Her smile was soft and her look thoughtful…she nodded slightly and said “I thought you might like to use that.” Never close to her, I had no idea that her simple statement betrayed her heavy knowledge…I had no idea that she knew more about own life than I did…that she knew the plans that were being played out back at home while we were out of the way.
In my 14 year old wisdom, my grandmother had simply given me a book…and now, looking back I realize that the woman that I barely knew and that I never really learned to love had given me all that she knew how to give. She took me in as a naive young lady knowing more about me than I knew about myself…she knew my life was about to blow sky high even before I recognized the smell of smoke and she gave me a tool to keeping myself sane.
I wish I had known then how much I would appreciate her gift so I could have shown her the thanks my heart now feels for her thoughtfulness. But God knew…
These books hold peices of my life…moments in which I have struggled, cried and laughed. When I first started, I found myself on the pages as I dumped myself onto them…and as time has gone on, I have learned to lose myself on them as I find Him waiting there for me. I look upon these books and see myself. I see the black book that is on top and know that is the darkest book I own as I almost despise the girl that wrote in it…selfish and demanding. I gaze upon the beautiful blue leather that holds my current journey and I smile softly as I can feel His Presence suck me into the pages and out of myself.
Journaling…it isn’t for everyone, I know. But today I am so thankful for the tool He has given me to lose myself to find Him…for the passion of expression wraped up in the passion for Him…for the ability to be real as I move against the tide in my heart that pulls me down to false walls of self protection. And I am also thankful for the grandmother who knew…and who cared enough to help me as best she could thru a simple book that became a path to my heart’s freedom from internal chains.
Listening to Josh Groban‘s February Song while looking up as always…