Would I want my great-grandchildren to read my journals?
This was something I pondered this past week with a couple friends. My initial response is one of mild horror. Someone reading my journals? Learning about the deep secrets I have attempted to lay bare for the sake of my sanity? I was not in favor of it. Not unless I could self-edit some of the more ridiculous parts, leaving the entries that would make me look holy and intelligent.
Though I have slowed down in the past year, I have written fairly extensively about the inner-workings of my heart and mind. They aren’t literary masterpieces, but I like to write honestly and in detail. The journals are primarily prayer journals. Yet I strive to speak to Jesus as I would to a closest friend which means that they are riddled with exaggeration, frustration, and melancholy as well as excitement, joy, and great fervor.
Yet the only consolation I can conjure when thinking about my great-grandchildren reading my journals is that I would be dead if that happened. And if I would be dead, then I would hardly be concerned with what they were reading. But as it so happens, right now I am very much alive and the hypothetical situation alarms me. I cannot help but wonder what they or anyone else would think should they stumble upon my journals.
Currently, I am on my tenth (or so) journal and I began shortly before college started. They are of different shapes and styles but I lean toward the elegant ones with built in bookmarks because they make me feel as though I am writing a real book. A couple are travel journals, speaking of excursions during my semester abroad as well as the Camino.
“Wouldn’t you want to read your Great-grandmother’s journals if you could?” my friend asks me as we discuss the situation. Perhaps. Of course it would be interesting and give a glimpse into the life of someone I never knew. But I just assume my Great-grandmother wasn’t half as ridiculous as I am. At least, I hope for her sake she wasn’t.
Perhaps, I pondered, I could simply request that they burn my journals after I die. Yet there is little to stop them from not following my wishes and there have been several times in history where such requests were not followed. In fact, such a request would probably heighten curiosity. Yet the thought of me burning my journals is too difficult at this point. They are friends. They reveal previous versions of Trish that are all still very much present in my life today. Today I re-read part of a journal from about five years ago and was a bit peeved to discover I am still very much as I was then. The progress of this heart is slow and tedious.
Only the Lord knows when I will die so I won’t spend too much time worrying about people reading the secrets of my heart etched on paper. These journals would certainly curtail any canonization process, that is for certain! If my great-grandchildren read them, they would be more convinced of my utter humanity and how foolishness pervades every generation. But, I suppose, the writings could also encourage them and reveal parts of my necessary conversions.
I don’t have plans for now to start editing my journals or changing the way I write. But if I happen to die soon, I caution anyone with the desire to crack open those journals and read them. And as for those hypothetical great-grandchildren reading them, as I told my friends, at the rate I’m going, I don’t have to even think about meeting them unless we start living well into our hundreds.