On the coffee table at my parents’ house sits a blue leather one-line-a-day journal.
I admit, it’s a strange artifact to occupy that space. One, neither of my parents is a writer or journal-keeper. Two, so many other things would seem to be more appropriate for that space: day-old newspapers, decorations commemorating whatever the season is, a dog toy, maybe.
At first, I thought the journal didn’t even belong to my mom or dad. A left-over Christmas gift, perhaps, forgotten by some out-of-town family member who had long since left? A gift for someone else that Mom was keeping out so she would remember to give it to whomever it was intended?
But I was wrong. On multiple counts.
My mom, it turns out, is a journal keeper. That journal is hers. It does belong on the coffee table in the living room, as a constant reminder for her to write just that one line each day.
And perhaps the biggest shocker for me?
She bought it for herself.
My mom is a woman who hardly has time to sit down and watch a 30-minute news segment. She has a small stack of paperback books on her nightstand, books she has been reading for months and months because she’s not one of those types who will just sit and read for hours.
She is a woman who is short on time.
Yet, this pocket-sized one-line-a-day journal is her ticket into becoming a journal keeper. It contains five years’ worth of lines, marking one line for each day. If she writes one line on March 18, 2012 and another line on March 18, 2013, she will easily be able to compare what she said in one year with what she said in the next. Maybe for her this month work is stressful. Next March, she might be planning a trip around this time and write about that, able to smile back on March 2012 and all that has changed since then. Or, maybe spring came too soon this year. When she writes about the sun melting the snow on April 1, 2012, she could be recording a raging blizzard on April 1, 2013.
Journals give us records of our lives. And not just our lives, but everything that celestially spins to influence our lives and define who we are. Keeping a journal is important. And I say, if my mom can do it, anyone can.
What would your one line be today? “Threw the ball with [insert child’s name here] and he caught it for the first time?” “Work too much. Crave more time with my family?” “Dinner out a BBQ joint tonight with relatives?”
A line a day is easy. Sometimes, I would think, the hardest part is how to narrow down just what to say, just how to choose to remember this day.