I have boxes of old journals in the closet in my guest room. Boxes. And lest you think they’re filled with the musings of a college dreamer or a twentysomething explorer or a more settled thirtysomething, they’re not. There’s probably less than 50 penned pages in each one.
Sadly, much of this problem can be attributed to my love for pretty journals. Anytime I’m left to roam the aisle at Target or any other paper or bookstore, it’s a pretty safe bet I’ll come home with a new journal.
As one who wants to keep a faithful journal but gave up on consistency years ago, I really liked the idea of the One Second Everyday app. Basically, you film one second of your life every day (or as often as you can) and then use the app to create a montage of the year’s clips. I rationalized that it would be a quicker, easier way to keep a visual journal of my life, so I downloaded it.
Every day I tell myself I’m just going to start—to just film something—and every day, I don’t even open it. Mainly because I’ve wrestled with what I think is worthy of documenting. I tell myself that my life is lacking in exciting and fun movie moments so I should just wait to start filming when things pick up again.
In June we found out my brother’s cancer has returned with a vengeance. It’s been such a hard summer for my family. There’s nothing glamorous about cancer, and there are many days I’d really like to forget this difficult season altogether. I look around and see pill bottles and supplements. I see pillows and blankets on the sofa. I see furrowed brows and lethargy and pain and uncertainty.
Then I remember how last summer, when he was going through his first battle with cancer, I was reading Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines. In one chapter she prayed, “Help us to be brave with one another for these are the days.” And I remember how my prayer all last summer was the first part of hers: “Help us to be brave with one another…”
But this summer, this summer the Lord keeps reminding me of the second part: that these are the days. They are our family’s lot. They’re what we’ve been given. And God has been so faithful during this season, just as He is in every other one. Perspective is so powerful, and it’s one of the reasons I originally loved the idea of this app.
Because when I remember that these are my days, I wish I’d started filming earlier. I would have included things like sitting quietly and putting puzzles together trying to occupy our minds while we waited on doctors’ reports or the walks around the block that turned into walks around 2 and 4 blocks as he’s been regaining his strength or the mounds of cards and notes of encouragement that included money to help with medical expenses or the powerful prayers people have spoken over us or eating dinner in the backyard at dusk on summer evenings with the fireflies welcoming the dark.
So maybe I will start filming my days because I need to be reminded that while adventure is exciting, He’s just as present in the mundane and ordinary. I need to acknowledge that my trials aren’t just about survival. I want to celebrate and trace the hand of God during the most painful season in my life, to date.
All those fits and starts in old journals—all of those years leading up to now—there’s a reason I can’t throw them away. They are evidence of a foundation being laid for my understanding the goodness of a Savior in the midst of suffering. They’re evidence of my Spring Training. I wish I had kept them more thoroughly, but they’re enough.
I’m sure I’ll miss some of the upcoming 365 days in my One Second Everyday app. I mean, I don’t exactly have a good track record in this department. But right now, I need to try. I need to stand back at a distance and look at my life instead of just enduring it.
And if I’m left with only 50 seconds of clips before I fall off the One Second Everyday app wagon, then at least I’ll have 50 seconds of a movie showing that in these days, this was how the Lord was faithful and good and near.
Photo credit: ben haley