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“I write to know what I think…” Joan Didian

Occasionally over the years, my mentor Jennifer has encouraged me to keep a journal.

I can’t do it.

I think it’s something to do with being an Enneagram 4 with a very strong 3 wing. (That sentence doesn’t make sense to many people, but if you know, you know.)

If I’m not going to publish it, or use it in some way, what would be the point of writing it down in the first place? I think the notion of a bedside journal is a rather romantic one, but my handwriting is terrible. I predict I’ll need carpal tunnel surgery in the next decade.

I was recently tempted, however, to start the old fashion journal situation after listening to the true crime podcast ‘The Teacher’s Pet’. In this podcast, teacher and former rugby player Chris Dawson is accused of his murdering his wife, Lynette Simms, who he reported missing in 1982. He was convicted of this crime only last year, and evidence in the case against him included extracts from the diary of Lyn’s (now deceased) mother. It wasn’t exactly literary brilliance. Lyn’s mum for sure isn’t going to posthumously win a Pulitzer. But Mrs Simms did help solve a murder. Just by scratching down the little details of her life. So, there’s an Enneagram-3-worthy reason to keep a journal: I might help solve a crime.

Speaking of, I’ve become a little obsessed with crime podcasts. So much so that I’m now on constant high alert for strange looking behaviour. Every day I clock such things; the teenage girl with the suspiciously juvenile-looking backpack, running to catch the bus, or the two men sitting in a white van in a car park at the shopping centre. One day I will be able to phone it in. Hopefully to Hedley Thomas.

A particularly enjoyable production, if you’re looking for a recommendation, is Season 2 of In The Dark by The New Yorker. It tells the story of Mississippi man Curtis Flowers who was tried 6 times for the same crime and held in prison for 23 years. Flowers maintained that he was completely innocent of the 1996 shooting deaths of four people in a furniture store, and the journalists who tell his story also manage to help Curtis change it. It’s a very alarming but ultimately encouraging tale of hope and unwavering faith in the goodness of God.

The goodness of God…

I’ve been hanging onto it pretty tightly recently. Trying to remind myself of all the times that God has showed me He is real and that He loves me, in a season where my faith feels pretty dry. Probably also a good reason to keep a journal- so many things have happened in the last few years that I just can’t discuss in a (randomly, occasionally, unpredictably nationally syndicated) blog. Mostly painful and hard stuff with my kids, who deserve their privacy. Their stories pretty much consume my life at the moment, and so most things are now things I can’t really talk about. Very limiting for a blogger.

Sometimes difficult times draw us closer to God. There’s definitely been some of that. But sometimes hard times leave us wondering where God has gone, and why He is silent, or seemingly resting, when we need Him the most.

I’ve done most of my praying in the shower lately. And it pretty much goes, “God, restore the joy I once had in you! Bring back the passion. Let me hear from you again!”

I was feeling a bit guilty about all of that, but then Craig Groeschel reminded me that this is what the Psalmist cries in Psalm 42.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

I too used to go to the House of God a lot. A bunch of things happened though, and I can’t really talk about them, but they sort of shook me a bit, and now on Sundays sometimes I just I make tea and sit in the sunshine and try to experience God there.

I have a few ideas about church, and how it could be different so that it is easier to go when you are sad and exhausted.

We bought a new house. It’s much bigger than the old house. I’ve been thinking it might be a place where I can invite sad and exhausted people to come hang. We can talk about the stuff you might only write in a journal, and about the stuff you can’t put in a blog. It has a nice lounge room, which I’m going to call “the good room”, where you can’t eat dinner but you can drink tea. I’m hoping it might be a place where I can talk to, and about, God with other people.

We move in a couple of weeks. Let me know if you want to come over.  

Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash