Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blank Journals and Temptation

Since it is now less than 8 weeks before I leave for my Camino, I have begun the process of making a prayer list in the back of the Journal I plan to take with me--It will be things that I plan to pray for daily on my Camino, and I already have several things I know I want to pray about...so, it wasn't that hard to begin the list.  This was a mistake, though.  You see, I have kept every journal that I have ever written (well, almost--there is one, maybe two volumes that have been lost in one of my many moves), and if you were to look at them, you would notice something rather curious....most of them have something like 20-30 pages blank at the back of them.

This is a picture of one of the pages of my current journal...that particular day, my dog had put her nose on the paper in the hopes that I would pay attention to her...I traced around her nose, then embellished it. 

I don't know what it is about my journals, but once I have written in the same tome for weeks and months, there comes a point when I start itching to start a new Journal.  I start perusing the blank book racks at Barnes and Noble, looking for just the right shape, size, and color.  I start counting how many more pages I have, in order to begin gauging how much longer I need to write in THIS particular book, and, if it is spiral bound, I start to tear out pages from the back in order to, hopefully, make the journal fill up faster.  Sometimes, it is because I know that I am at a new place in my life, and I am just ready.  Sometimes, it is just that I'm sick of looking at the same cover over and over.  And, sometimes, it is because I have made the mistake and actually bought my next journal....I just begin to yearn to put pen to paper and fill the beautiful, pristine pages!

My journal often becomes a bit of a scrap-book...this is the bib from the 25k I ran in San Antonio this past May.  I will often add tickets, postcards, etc.  This particular journal also has some of the correspondence from the Tribunal pasted in it, and the journal I took with me to Mongolia in college has letters from home pasted in...It is why I will be taking a glue stick with me on my Camino.
This time around, I am using one of the many blank journals laying around my house (I don't want to be caught without a new Journal if I need it--horror of horrors!--do I?!?), rather than buying a new journal.  I have actually decided that I want to use up the majority of my blank journals before I am willing to buy a new one again, since having 7 empty journals sitting on my bookshelf seems a little excessive to me.  I've also thought about getting back into a habit of decorating my own journals again...I used to buy spiral bound sketch books, then made collages on the front cover.  I would then laminate them by covering the collages with clear packing tape.  The only problem is that I don't get any magazines, so I don't have a ready stash of pictures anymore that I can use on collages.  I  would rather use someone else's pictures, since my drawing is rudimentary at best.

This is an example of my sketching ability.  About the only thing I am good at drawing is ivy, and you will often find blank space being filled with meandering ivy in my journals.
So, you are wondering why it is so dangerous for me to begin readying my journal for my trip?  Well, I've currently got about 20 pages remaining in my current Journal, and I really want to wait to begin a new journal until I leave for my Camino.  I'm just not sure that it will last for the 51 days that I have left until I leave, and I really don't want my Camino Journal to have anything in it but my Camino.  I'm afraid that one of the following scenarios will happen:

  1. I will run out of pages in my current journal, and then begin using my Camino journal, only to not have enough pages to get me through my trip (I know that they have blank books in Spain, but I would rather have everything in one place).
  2. I will run out of pages, and then begin a new journal for here at home, but save my Camino Journal for my trip....I hate the idea of having 2 journals going on at the same time, although this is probably the most likely scenario at the moment.
  3. I will run out of pages, and then just wait until I leave for my Camino to write in my journal again--this idea is just WRONG.  I haven't been without a journal since I was 14, and I don't want to start now!
  4. I will get impatient with filling my current journal, and then begin using my Camino Journal just because I don't want to write in my current journal anymore (this could also hold true for a different journal than my Camino Journal as well).
  5. I will begin rationing how much I can write in my journal because I want to wait for my trip to start a new journal.
As you can see from the stack of pages on the right, I am currently at the end-game of this journal...I have exactly 21 pages left!

I think the real reason why it is dangerous to begin working on my Camino Journal is that I've turned a corner this last week, and I'm ready to start a new stage in my healing.  Somehow, starting a new journal is a symbolic gesture for me, and has been for a long time--I started my current journal shortly after my divorce was final. Nothing in my regular, day-to-day existence changed, but I had an attitude shift that was a long time coming.  I'm still not sure which scenario above will hold sway, but I'm sure that I want to chronicle all that God is doing in my life, so only time will tell.  I will try to white-knuckle it and continue to use the journal I am currently in, then make a decision when I have used the last page (or when I can't stand to use this particular journal any longer!!!).

I also like to add quotes that hit me for one reason or another.  I often try to write about the quote and what I like about that particular quote, but not always.  Sometimes, I will put a quote in randomly in my journal--when I do that, it usually has no embellishment or elaboration because it was originally written in the middle of blank pages.  When I finally get to the quote, it is often not as relevant to what is on my heart anymore.