after too many years

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In my massive "memorabilia" tub in the basement of our town house I have a collection of composition notebooks. Within the pages of these little wonders one would find the joys and stumblings of a junior high and senior high guy. Of all the books I've read, classes attended, and caffeinated seminars sat through, nothing has helped me understand adolescent development like my own narrative. I am so glad I was honest and I so hope my son Luke never finds these marbled notebooks.

For whatever reason I stopped journaling when I hit the college years. And despite my best wishings I never picked it up during the seminary years.

Self-awareness is a funny thing. As an adolescent who, unbeknownst to himself, was totally self-focused, I found writing a way of unloading my tension with about choosing God and engaging self gratification, my confusion about girls, and lots of highs and complete failings. As I moved into my late teens and twenties I found that I was able to maintain a more balanced perspective and I also began learning how to utilize friendships to sort through my questions. Journal writing became a less pragmatic endeavor. I never made the transition to understanding that journaling could remain an incredibly useful tool as an adult.

Last fall, as we were preparing for Luke's arrival, one of the members of my church suggested that I keep a personal journal; one that my son and other children could one day read. He honestly regretted not doing that for his own son. Two weeks ago Luke turned one. Went so fast. Too fast. Seventeen more times and he'll probably be gone. Not gone forever but gone in the he's not my son living under my roof looking to me for guidance, balance, boundaries kind of way. It's what I say and how I live during these years that is most valuable to him in the years that follow his exodus away from mom and dad. As I unpack my own memories, my appreciation for my mom and dad consistently gains greater clarity and more dimension. I have begun to realize that parenting is incredibly complex and, at the same time, very simple.

So after too many years I'm making the commitment to journal and instead of composition notebooks, this blog and at times, when I have personal thoughts I want for my kids alone to read, in a new notebook. Something a little more modern.

As for the title of my blog...A few years ago I was on a high school service retreat. At the end of a great day we sat and talked together. Amidst our conversation, Kate asked a question. It was the kind of question that everyone was thinking but couldn't figure out how to ask. "So when does it get easier? When do the struggles to live for God get easier?" After a few moments of silence I looked at Kate and replied, "the struggle is the journey."

4 comments:

Stephen said...

Andy,

Glad you are blogging! I look forward to hearing more!

Stephen

Josh said...

Andy!

glad to see the blog man...keep it coming!

Josh

Tom said...

glad to find your blog...you gonna blog again or did i come too late?

Jenny said...

I have a hard time believing you were totally self-focused as a teenager! Besides, it's not like a journal would focus on someone else, right?

I just found the link to your blog on Facebook. Hope you don't mind. I think you can follow the link to my blog from my comment here.

Peace,
Jenny