From where I lay on my bed, I can count ten volumes containing my thoughts over the years. I know that, just out of my line of vision, a spiral bound notebook holds page after page of poetry and prose. Just opposite the foot of my bed sits a box that contains, among other things, every published word I’ve ever written. Both yearbook and newspaper articles abound.
I am literally surrounded by thousands ‘ perhaps millions ‘ of words in this room. Those that have flowed from my own pen are kept in good company with the likes of CS Lewis, Sean Watkins, Patty Griffin, Francine Rivers, and Derek Webb, among others. The books and songs that have influenced my life cover my walls, inhabit my CD player, and find their liner notes strewn about the room.
As I wrote a letter last week (another outpouring of my daily word count), I looked about this room and began to wonder: what will come of my words when I am gone?
They are at home now among some of the great authors (and some veritable, albeit respected, unknowns) of the past century. Someday, though, I’ll pass from this world, leaving these volumes (and likely countless others yet to be written) to some unfortunate relative who will then be responsible for determining their fate. What will become of these pieces of my heart?
Unlikely though it may seem, I actually do pick up my old journals and pour over the pages on occasion. While in a particularly pensive mood, I may select a volume from several years past and turn to the present day’s date in that chapter of my life. Sometimes I discover that what I wrote then is still a struggle today; others, I look back and smile at the victories of life.
But what value do these words hold for anyone else? When I’m dead, will anyone treasure these books as I have? Will the time spent creating my high school yearbook be significant to someone else? Will all of these words serve as a memorial to the life of their author ‘ or will they be better suited to decomposition in a landfill far away?