A little black moleskin journal has travelled with me on many a plane trip. It has been tucked in my back pocket as I walked distant places and lately, it has gotten a little dusty. One could say even cynical. The elastic has stretched out of shape. A little like my body. The edges are a little worn and bent out of shape. A little like my heart.
There is something so comforting, however, to sit with the letters I have penned to myself over fifteen years.
Last week in the trenches of school holidays and winter, my husband asked me to do something really simple. He said “Babe, write a list of all your wins this year. Everything; your parenting wins. Your writing achievements. The times when you said yes when everything in you wanted to say no, you know all the little things.”
And so I did.
I wrote all the things that made me smile. Like the moment when we finally got our daughter back on the toilet and my sons face when he started Tae Kwon Do. Planting herbs in our very own garden. my list went on and on. Simple, private little wins that only our family could have celebrated. As I sat on our bed, with my list written on a simple piece of paper, a smile rose from within.
Just one step closer. One foot in front of the other. Finding perspective in the midst of letting go. Again.
The next day I went on a treasure hunt to find this journal. Each year on the 31st of December since 2004, I have written a word that describes and sums up the year just gone.
As I remembered all the different seasons that have come and gone over the last fifteen years and the art of remembering moments of victory and the feeling of utter lostness blossomed across the tension of years.
Prayers left hanging.
Space and time help us to remember moments where we were rescued in the midst of our trembling ways. Depth and story reconnect us with the breadth of what really is important. The art of reminding ourselves of how far we have come. Memorial stones of faithfulness where we have travelled the valleys and landing in spaces where the majesty of the One who has gone before us and brought his weaving colour in the midst of our canvas.
In this little memory keeper, I write every year the lesson learned. I also write the high point of the year, the low point of the year. Then I write myself a little note to remember.
A long time ago a leader, a fearless man named Joshua, came to a place when he was spent. He had seen years upon years of war, famine and fighting. They had waited for forty years to see the realisation of their hopes and toil. Miracle after miracle. The story that begot story after story. The rolling stone of faithfulness in the midst of season upon season, that could have easily been forgotten once revelling in the promised land.
So this leader of thousands commanded his troops to set upon a mountain top twelve stones, so that generation after generation would never forget the faithfulness of the one who had rescued, came close and stood from afar. He asked twelve leaders to carry memorial stones up mountains and place them one upon the other. So future generations we look at them and ask why were those stones there and what is their purpose.
The art of reminding ourselves how far we have come.
Do you feel dislocated?
Do you feel unsure?
Do you feel disconnected?
Find a way to reconnect with the stories, tales and adventures across of long period of your life and remind yourself of how far you have come. Reconnect back with your story from fifteen years ago. Remember what it was like back then and set yourself a memorial stone.
Then turn towards the future remembering the times that you have overcome and breathed deep in the satisfaction of a new season. This winter, find your voice my dear friend and remind yourself of how far you have come.
It is a powerful way to recalibrate your tomorrow. With the memory of the ways, you have been shaped by your yesterday.