Saturday, July 18, 2009

Diaries then, Journals now

It's really the same thing. In school we kept secret diaries, to deal with grammar school anguish when the boy we had a crush on didn't feel the same way. The joy we felt when another, even more popular boy asked us to the homecoming dance. When our spirits soared after Dad taught us how to drive, always on out-of-the-way roads at first, with our sisters cheering us on from the back seat. We'd come a long way since those days as a little child we had begged to sit in daddy's lap and "drive" the car down the driveway as we arrived home from a family outing.

Now, it's more like we're trying to make sense of a gone-crazy world. Everyone we know seems depressed and out of sorts. People who had dream jobs are now living the nightmare of unemployment. Fathers who had felt proud that they could take care of their families are now bent over a computer job-searching all day while mom goes out to a manual labor job just to put food on the table. Law enforcement officials had predicted that the upended economy would make good people go bad: thefts are up as people go out looking for what they see as "what's theirs."

But people with faith and a solid foundation will stand firm in these shaky times. They'll pray and go to church, spend more time with loved ones and pull themselves up by what's left of their boot straps. If they're lucky they'll have a moment or so to themselves to chronicle the day, to write in some kind of notebook or scratch pad, the challenges they met today, the ones they overcome and others they'll get back to tomorrow.

Journals and diaries are soul-saving and a lot cheaper and more personal than a trip to a therapist.