Writing can be an amazing discovery experience. Although many people will not become professional authors, all of us will benefit from writing our experiences in a journal or a blog. Too often we race through life without pausing to reflect on our tragedies and triumphs. When we take time to ponder, we enrich our lives.
Let me illustrate. Eleven years ago, my mother-in-law died and then showed up late to her own funeral.
Our family can smile about the story now, but at the time it was very traumatic.
It all began when she suddenly died of a massive heart attack. My wife didn’t even have a chance to say good-bye.
We made plans for a funeral in Orem and another in her hometown of Boise. With heavy hearts and empty wallets, we paid for the funeral arrangements and the casket. To save money, a family friend offered to transport the body and casket in an enclosed pickup truck.
The night of the trip to Boise, the roads were icy and the truck (with the casket in the back) hit black ice and rolled over. Richard, the driver, broke his neck. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were cut and bruised. Nana’s body came partially out of the ruined casket.
After a restless night, we continued to Boise. The funeral directors in Twin Falls had cleaned up the body, and we had purchased a second casket.
So that’s why my mother-in-law was late to her own funeral.
In the months that followed, Patty and I struggled to figure out had gone wrong. How could the Lord have allowed such a tragedy to occur?
Answers came very slowly, but we found consolation from talking with loved ones.
Several years later, I recorded these thoughts in my journal: “I pray that our merciful Savior will heal my soul. I do know, as Job, that he lives. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him. I do know that he is much more patient and long-suffering and far-seeing that I am. I also know that he has been exceedingly patient with my struggling over the years. I choose to trust in Jesus Christ, the Lord and Master of all. Dear Father, please send thy holy peace. Help thou mine unbelief. Be still, my soul.”
Writing these thoughts became a catalyst for change.
Answers came. Faith replaced fear, and peace replaced despair.
So do I endorse writing thoughts in a journal or a blog? Absolutely. To paraphrase E. M. Forster, how do we know what we think until we see what we’ve said? The process of writing can help us express our true feelings and take us on a voyage of discovery.
Devan Jensen can be reached at devanjensen.com. He is the author of God’s Greatest Gifts: 10 Reasons to Rejoice.