A brand new, blank journal always intimidates me. Something about beginnings in general seem to be intimidating. Everything is all clean and fresh. Every page is fraught with potential.
I’ve filled about ten journals so far. I have a fairly disorganized mind, and something about writing my thoughts help give them order and meaning. I think on paper, and my best ideas come out of a pen.
Every time I begin a new journal, that first page stays blank for some time. For some reason, I feel that that I have to start things off right – even if many of the following pages are less than stellar – you have to get the beginning right.
Perhaps that’s why we don’t ever begin pursuing our dreams – the first page intimidates is too much. We have to get it just right, after all. So, shouldn’t we wait to begin for when we are a little bit smarter, a bit more wise, until we have a bit more time, or a bit more money?
Of course, with that mindset, that first page would stay blank forever, and so would the rest of your book. Your entire life story (your real story: the one that’s filled with the deepest desires of your heart), that will stay unwritten. You will forever wait for that perfect beginning – because it will never come.
The only way to begin is to start. Start right where you are – with all your flaws, bad grammar, and empty bank account.
I think perfect beginnings really only exist somewhere in the middle of the story: never on the first page.
A planned on being the perfect wife before I got married. First, I’d become a brilliant cook and perfect homemaker, and then the perfect guy would come by. Fortunately, life doesn’t work that way (and thank goodness – I’d be single till the day I’d die). I’ve been married for almost two years to my studly-stud Leland, and – whaddayaknow – I’m still not the wife I’d like too be (cue microwave dinners because every pot and pan in the house is dirty . . .), but I’m closer now than I was when I was single – because Leland and I decided to forgo a perfect beginning and start our marriage with two very imperfect people and work toward that very-far-off-perfection, together.
But, the most frightening blank page came with the discovery that I was pregnant. My family cheered, and I cried. I wasn’t ready to start a Baby book! I knew the kind of mother I wanted to be. She would be eternally patient. She would be saintly and lovely and a wonderful cook and brilliant homemaker. I was so far away from this ideal, I just cried, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to become that woman in nine short months.
As baby grew in my swelling tummy, so did my anxiety. What kind of a mom would I be? How could I ever be worthy of this precious spirit? Six more months, I reasoned. I’d have time to figure it out . . .
There he was, “trailing clouds of glory” just like Wordsworth said.
And I realized, my parenthood Story had already begun. And no matter how much I might have tried to prepare, I never could have been prepared for this beginning – this precious, miraculous, sacred, but far from perfect beginning.
So, here’s my new beginning – my foray into parenting and homeschooling and education. The journey won’t be perfect. I haven’t great stores of wisdom to share; I’m nowhere near the perfect wife and homemaker; I stink at DIY, crafts, and sewing; and my dishes pile up faster than I’d care to admit to. BUT, I’m sure we’ll find little bits of wisdom along the way – because little bits of excellent exist in every ordinary life, if you only look for them.