Tuesday, July 24, 2007
If They Hadn't Kept Journals
Today being Pioneer Day, I thought I would pay tribute as well as talk about writing. How would two such diverse subjects come together, you might ask? Well, let's remember what we know of these brave people. Much of what we know about them comes from their journals.
That's right. Journals.
These tired, exhausted, starving and freezing individuals still found the energy to write in their journals almost every night, if not once a week. Usually the entries were short - they were limited on energy and time after all - but they were succinct. They sometimes glossed over the tragedy and heartache, but we could read it between the lines of brave words.
We are told to keep journals. Many times I'm sure we ask ourselves why – we aren't pioneers and we aren't going through some monumental struggle. But aren't we?
Our descendants are going to be just as interested in what our daily lives were like as we are of the pioneers. They are going to want to know how we dealt with the difficulties that came our way. What did we do, how did we feel when our parents died, or a sibling strayed or a child did not follow the right path? If we don't record these thoughts and feelings, perhaps they won't learn from our mistakes and grow from our experiences. It is important to share them. It is a holy task.
Both of my parents died in my youth so we know nothing about them outside of what our uncle (the only surviving of their generation) tells us. I have two older brothers that have clearer memories, yet even so, they don't remember enough. We have no idea of medical history, or thoughts or feelings or how they dealt with being the only members of the church in both families.
If only they had kept journals.