Thursday, October 2, 2014

NEW {day 2} :: pages

A few years ago my parents were in the process of moving and they were sick and tired of lugging around all my ‘stuff’.  We're talking boxes and boxes full of letters and photos and certificates for things like the presidential academic fitness award {I never understood…was that because I was smart or in good shape??}.  

The boxes simply exchanged attics…from theirs to mine.  

Over the years I have slowly sorted through most of their contents.  Some were deemed ‘disposable’ and others still take up residence with spider webs and bins of baby clothes.  One of those ‘keeper’ boxes is stuffed full of my words, written in dozens of notebooks and journals, documenting the story of my life since I was in the 3rd grade.  

Although much of my words today are generated on a keyboard, there is still something sacred about putting pen to paper.  I will never completely forego the habit of journal writing.  If you've never tried it, you should.  I'm going to give you some prompts for writing this month to get you started.

Over the summer I finished filling my most recent notebook and cracked open a brand new one.

I always write in my neatest handwriting on the first page of a new journal.  Maybe I'm trying to make a good 'first impression'.  Or maybe I take such time and care on that first page because there are no ‘impressions’ - no evidence of words pressed through from previous pages.  The first page is the proverbial blank slate - fresh and new for whatever I decide to create.  

Those first strokes aren’t laid down on top of existing indents of various shapes and sizes.  The words are cleanly set on the page without anything influencing them, without anything causing them to move or bend a certain way.  

There is freedom on that first page.  
There is the feeling of dancing on an empty dance floor.  
It feels good and looks nice but inevitably that first page doesn’t wind up holding any particularly significant words.  

When I flip that first page over things are not so neat and clean anymore.  The dance floor begins to feel crowded as I write on top of other words, and even the once fresh words on the other side of the page are pressed into with my pen, which I grip hard and tight.  My hand tires and cramps and the writing grows less and less crisp and things get a little messy and confusing but, if I'm honest, that's where the really good writing begins to take shape. 

Treasures can be found buried under the piling of words on top of words, all in the same old place.
Treasures can also be found in the piling up of a life...your same old life.  Each bit of 

All of our words - all of the days we've lived - weave in and out of each other and within them, if we look closely we discover something new in the old.  

This month will not be about escaping the old, in search of something new.
It will be about embracing the old and watching it become new.

The first new page feels good.  It’s a good place to start.  
But you have to keep going, even when the pages get bent and torn and covered with evidence of the words that have come before.  You can't just write on the first page of a journal and discard the rest.  You can't just jump from one 'first page' to another in an effort to keep things neat and tidy.

The really valuable words, the ones worth reading and re-reading, don’t come until your stories and thoughts have begun to pile up...until the good and the bad of life has been dumped all out on the page.
No matter how old or messy your story has become for you, woven into all those pages of your life story is a bright thread that is the color of new.  When you find it you will see every story, every word, differently.  That's what we are pursing these 31 days.

The more pages I fill in a journal the more new discoveries I make.
The freshest, newest revelations and truths come after I’ve been in that same old place…that same old journal for a while.

You have a life story too, you know.  The contents of it are far too valuable to be boxed up and sent to the dump.  Maybe it's time you opened it up and took a look at what is written inside.

Your life may feel old.
It may feel 
beyond repair...
but right in the middle of that old life something new is waiting to spring up.

New comes as we go deeper…not wider…so tomorrow we dive in.

In the meantime, if you've got that journal {or even just a scrap of paper} try putting some words to this:

When I hear the word 'new' I think of...

NEW is a 31 days series.  Find all posts HERE.