Yesterday may have been my best Christmas ever. It was certainly one of the least materialistic – very little focus on “stuff” and more on service and family ties. At the end of the day, the real highlight was the time we spent reading from a truly precious gift that we received from my wife’s mother, a booklet of text and photos called The Life Stories and Love Story of Floyd and Doreen Larson. It began with a transcribed recording that my recently deceased father-in-law made for his Doreen on Mother’s Day in 1974, recounting the story of their courtship and married life together, and expressing his feelings for her. There was such tenderness and respect for her in his words, and so much implicit in the stories he recalled. I was humbled at his example of true manhood, and so pleased that my teenage boys were being exposed to more of the soul of that great man. They were touched, as was I, and learned more about respecting women in that short time than in a dozen lessons at Church.
The numerous details of their lives that he wove together reflected the treasury of information he had kept in his journals. What a rich blessing it was for us to relive some of his experiences and have the richness of detail that comes from dedicated journal keeping.
I hope more of you will start keeping journals and put your stories and thoughts into writing.
Not only do journals provide a rich blessing to your posterity, but the practice of journal keeping reminds you frequently that your life is being recorded and will be reviewed and scrutinized one day. That can help you in making more careful choices. And reviewing your own writings can help you learn from the mistakes of our past. I think there is something about journal writing that helps the human soul seek to be more responsible and more concerned about the long-term consequences of our choices.