I started a new journal a few weeks ago. That used to be a pretty common occurence (as evidenced by the 14 journals scattered across my bedroom floor, all from the last five years), but this was my first new journal in almost two years.
When I inked my first words into these leather bound pages, I was sitting in a familiar coffee shop. I guess it’s been almost three years since I worked on a journal entry in that place. The memory is still dear, though… I remember sitting between two friends, writing while they studied… with bellies full of barbecue.
I began my newest journal at a table with two different friends, one old and one new. As I wrote, I wondered how much I’ve really changed in the elapsed time. Though I live in a different city in a different state, I was back in that coffee shop. I’m still friends with several of the people I was with that night years ago. I’m still clueless about what’s next in life.
But the more I thought, the more I realized I have changed in the (almost) three years since I graduated from college. I guess that’s part of why I ended up with these journals scattered across my room tonight. I’ve been flipping through their pages, recalling the over-excited girl I was and comparing her to the woman I’m becoming. (There is no excuse for three exclamation points in a sentence, ever.)
Some of the changes probably aren’t so great–I’m definitely more prone to cynicism now than then. But I’m also more prone to realism. I’m more likely to be honest about my struggles (and I’m more likely to punctuate a sentence correctly).
(My finances were better off when I was an undergrad, though. I thought it was supposed to be the opposite way around?)
I wish the changes were more obvious… I wish I was certain that I’ve lost that chip I carried on my shoulder after I graduated… but on days like today, I’m not quite convinced. When I’m discouraged, though, it’s comforting to look at the journals that hold my story, the friends who have remained by my side (or left and come back or appeared somewhere in the meantime) even when I’m at my worst.
And it’s comforting to know that God has a history of coming through for his people, even when they screwed up… and that he’s opened his promises to even me.