I couldn’t start until I bought a new journal. I probably have 75 wire notebooks around the house, but I really needed a new journal for this. Really. So I went to Border’s and bought one, the one on sale, of course. It’s not all that pretty, but it’s thick….and already has a few pages filled.
Week 1 is titled: Our Life Story–The Memories that Have Shaped Us
Here’s the assignment: Put together a mental “photo album” of scenes from your past and find God in them. From the guide: “With every picture in my story, there is a grace offered to me as I look for God’s presence there.”
I spent Friday, Saturday, and today thinking about childhood scenes, will spend tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday reflecting on scenes from adolescence and young adulthood, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday thinking about the rest of adulthood. (This first week is a little longer. I couldn’t wait until Monday to start…not after I bought the new journal!)
I like the discipline of reflecting on scenes from my past and finding God in them. Some of the scenes I have to think about for a while, you know, the sad or painful ones. With others it’s easier.
A happy scene–me playing a chord organ my mom bought me when I was in the fourth grade. I loved that chord organ! (You play the melody with the right hand, and chord buttons with the left.) I learned how to read music AND learned how much I loved making music playing that instrument. I still meet God most deeply and surely in music. A definite grace.
Another music scene…In second grade, we were rehearsing for the Christmas program. You know that big leap in “Silent Night” when you sing “heavenly peace?” Our music teacher told us not to “slide” from the lower note to the higher one, that it was more musical to sing it cleanly. Wow! I still work hard not to “scoop” or “slide” when I sing…because that teacher taught us that making music was a beautiful thing, a thing that takes great skill and care. Another grace.
A final scene–this one comes from my preschool days. Until I started kindergarten, I stayed with Mrs. Carpenter, a woman who kept children in her home. One day–I’m not sure why–but I screamed in another child’s ear. Mrs. Carpenter came right up to me and screamed in mine. Then she asked, “Did you like my screaming in your ear?” Now, you need to know that I adored Mrs. Carpenter. I couldn’t fathom why she would do such a thing to me! But when she asked me if I liked her sreaming in my ear, I had to say no. “And neither does ‘Janie'” (or whoever it was). It was a painful lesson, but a powerful one. In that exchange, I began learning how my actions affected other people. I began what moral developmentalists call “perspective taking.” I was able to begin to imagine what other people might be feeling or thinking. A very important life lesson in “loving my neighborh.” A definite grace.
So far, it’s been a good exercise, finding God in any random scene from my past. Kind of cool.
Okay. There’s tons more I want to say, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.
Peace for your journey….