Friday, May 2, 2014

If I'd only known

It's Random Journal Link-up Day! Check out all the other journals here. Also my middle sister's Birthday, not that those two things are related; my post will have nothing to do with her, but I just had to give LD a shout-out because I'm thinking of her. I also can't tell you I abided by the letter of the law for RJD, which says I'm supposed to pick out a journal, open it randomly, and write whatever entry I happen upon. No such luck this month. The problem is that I picked out a journal labeled "Spring 1983."  The first page the journal fell open to revealed this wouldn't be a status-quo journal. I should have known--not that year, not that spring.
You see, the spring of 1983 was all about letters that were flying across the pole between Finland and Washington state, between two old friends who'd renewed their friendship after about an eight year hiatus. The man who was not-yet-the-Beve and I had reconnected the fall/winter of 1982 in Helsinki and now were in the middle of a flurry of letters.

This edition of my journals was the place where I unleashed all my longings about him. It's fascinating to read the words of this young woman who has no more idea of what the future holds than she understands why her past has been so painful. I read her words and smile. "Relax," I want to tell her. She's just a year away from being married to this man. A SINGLE year. But she hasn't the faintest idea of whether he considers her more than a friend, whether God wants her to EVER be married--let alone to a man such as not-yet-the-Beve. What she does know, what every word conveys, is how much she values this man, how much she believes he's a treasure, whether he ever has anything to do with her. Laced with these very unselfish words are also the deep longings she has that this tall, lovely man does feel as she does. Her hopes, her dreams, her "I think I might just love him," words litter the pages of this edition of the journals.

So I read an entry or two. Then another and another, keeping track with a finger of the first page I'd opened (still wanting to 'do RJD correctly--I'm like that). Then, with a sigh, and because I couldn't help myself, I flipped back to the beginning and read through the whole thing. Now (as you might guess) I really, REALLY, want to waste the rest of my day reading more of these blue notebooks, right up until the moment when not-yet-the-Beve actually becomes THE Beve, and tells me how he feels. I really want to do that. It's such a story. And it's mine.

Isn't that partly why we keep journals? So we have an immediacy with an earlier version of ourselves? We have the opportunity of revisiting ourselves at ages that we might not otherwise remember. I love that. I can know me at 16, 26, and yesterday. And God uses that. He used this journal from the spring of 1983 to remind me of His faithfulness in bringing us together and it's a gift I don't take for granted.

It's a perfect time to remember this, too. May 12th is our 30th anniversary. When we married, we'd already known each other 16 years. But we had know idea how much more was ahead of us, how much bigger and better life would be together. In the ebbs and flows of the last 30 years (and in every marriage there are both, of course), I can say how profound the treasure is that is US. Not just the Beve, not just me, but US together.

The young woman who wrote these words didn't know this, but the self that has wrinkles and graying hair does.
I think about him. I leave it most of the time...and I pray for him. But sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like if he loved liked me and that isn't of God. I'm scared of feeling this way about the wrong person. I know I'm capable of convincing myself that God says a man is 'right' when he isn't. I've been down this road before, and don't want to do that to him. Not to him of all men on this earth. I think of who he is, what he is... I just wish he'd come home so I could deal with my emotions face to face. Maybe simply seeing him will be the answer--we'll look at each other and we'll both laugh, knowing it was merely a sand castle. That would be fine. Then we can relax and be friends. But right now, the way my heart pounds when I see an envelope with his handwriting on it, it's clearly NOT fine. I think I might just love like him a great deal.


Dawn Paoletta said...

OH-YES! I love this...and yes, right? WHy we keep these crazy books. We see our former selves, and His ever present omnipotence overrides all as we look back, and it really is a gift.

I confess, I usually grab a pile and read through to choose what I will randomly (?) sort it's all good. I love that you had a flurry of letters between you...perhaps that could be another post altogether. Or maybe that is a FYO (for your eyes only). Either way, I was wondering when you would get over today, as I so enjoy your rambles down memory lane. Thanks, as always Carolyn!

Deanna Wiseburn said...

How amazing it is to look back and see where we were in the past. Although I guess I was not aware that we were to go with the first page we opened too. I was to busy trying to find an early one that felt somewhat shareable and didn't have many names in it. Because you know some things written in a journal are not intended to be shared.

I love looking back though and seeing how I have grown as a person. It can be very easy to get lost in the pages of old journals.

jeskmom said...

Deanna, well, I'm probably (likely!!!) a more color-within-the-lines kind of person than most RJD folks. I also try to avoid names. My point was more that I got side-tracked into reading the whole journal than that I just skimmed a couple pages. I completely agree that we don't write journals with the idea of readers so this unveiling we do on RJD each month can be a stretch.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

This was so beautiful. And so brave. But what a treasure to have those memories stashed away of your early feelings of "Like" (love)for your wonderful "Beve". I am happy we got to take a glimpse into that sacred place of your heart.
BTW: I'm sure you can tell I don't exactly do RANDOM journal sharing either. I have kind of run out of random things that I feel safe sharing. And some things are just so mundane they would be boring to others (but not to me). I think it is just the act of opening up and being vulnerable to others whether it is random or still has a purpose and a message. I'm so thankful for each and every one of our RJD friends. It has been quite the blessed journey.

Dawn Maurice said...

Sitting here smiling after reading this peek into your love story--how sweet!! And how wonderful this gift of yesterday to go back through and relive and enjoy!

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

Oh oh oh! I LOVE this post so much!! Those "love/like struggles" when we are trying SO hard to be good and to be in God's will! Loved this a lot, thanks for sharing it!
AND PLEASE NOT be legalistic about sharing randomly chosen pages! Ha! I don't, Dawn doesn't, and we are the inventors of this fun activation. Feel Free my friends! Ha! Susie

jeskmom said...

I completely agree about the legalism about the randomness of RJD, Susie. It's MY self-imposed thing, and I just wrote about it to highlight that I caught up in rereading the whole blue notebook before choosing an entry.
PS. Since posting yesterday, I've now 'wasted' (HA!) most of twenty-four hours reading the notebooks before and after that one, leading up to our wedding. So fun!

Anonymous said...

Jeskmom :) You make me smile! I love this post...what a treasure to have the journals to look back on...I just today told a group of women that I have a relationship with my journal. I love to curl up with mine and read cover to cover, which is such a revisiting an old friend!