I have sporadically over the years of my marriage kept journals, which were quite useful as a way to keep secret from others (mostly him) the things that were on my mind and yet “get it out” at the same time. A cursory search of the places where I usually kept the journals shows they are not there, so I have obviously moved them. I have no idea at the moment where they are. This is a bit disturbing. I have not yet gone on a “tearing things apart” search to find, but I am confident they will turn up.
In the mean time, I did find one journal, the oldest one, under the clothes in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I began writing in this “1-year diary” as early as 1966 and continued off and on through 1970, and there is one entry in 1975.
We went through a hard time in our marriage in 2004, and once we had moved safely away from the brink of the chasm, I picked up the diary, for some reason, and began thumbing through it. I have never quite forgotten who I was in that era, but the specific details of my behavior had faded. As I scanned the pages I obviously became more and more depressed about the person I was in the last half of the 60s. On the first page of the journal, January 3, I had dated it 1970 and had written “Here I am at 20 years old….”
And on the next blank page after that, dated Sept 7, 2004, I had written…
Here I am now at 55, still holding on to this diary that has entries dating back to 1967, 36 years ago. I wonder why I kept it all these years. What does it say about the person who scribbled in here? Much, I think. Mostly about a confused and foolish young woman who stood at the brink of the cliff and deliberately stepped off. Which launched her into a free-fall…I watch the broadcast of a service at my sister’s church on Wednesday night, and the preacher, Bayless Conley, said – well I don’t remember exactly how he worded it – but that we shouldn’t get too far from our salvation experience – we shouldn’t forget what we were and what we have become – because it is too easy to be judgmental toward people who are struggling with things that we perhaps struggled with ourselves. Something like that.
He certainly is right. There is a phrase that goes something like "the church is the only place that shoots it wounded..." Those of us who have reformed from some destructive behavior can certainly be harsh and not very compassionate toward others who are still struggling.
But, in the days that have passed since then, and as I have gotten deeper and deeper into the diary, I have decided I do not need to have it around any more to remind me of what I was. No indeed. So, page-by-page, it is going into the shredder. I think I prefer to “leave the past behind and press on…”