But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (ESV)
History changed, forever.
A group of Shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night got a rare visitation, probably the only visitation they ever had. An angel of the Lord had come bearing good news – the birth of the Messiah. And in that moment a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”
When the angel left, the shepherds gathered themselves and went into Bethlehem, to behold for themselves this amazing child. In the midst of this frenzy and excitement, which transformed the lives of men eternally, Mary, the virgin mother of our Lord, kept calm, treasured these things and pondered them in her heart.
Mary, the virgin mother of our Lord, kept calm, treasured these things and pondered them in her heart.
Trust the dots to join
Nine months prior to this event, angel Gabriel had come to Mary bearing news of favour. She would bear the Messiah in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. In that moment, Mary was troubled. It was until she visited Elizabeth that her soul was calmed and she wrote a song which began with the words, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Luke 1:46).
Let me bring this home. I was reading through my journal today. I often do, especially when I need a good laugh. Today was different though. Noting through the dates and places, I realized how much the present shape of things in my life was shielded behind my anxieties, wild dreams and earnest prayers. Stuff was happening in and around me and I could not place my finger on what it all meant until when I read, days, months and years later. One thing was clear, there was absolutely no way to remember all these things had they not been treasured in the moment of their occurrence. Steve Jobs, the late founder of apple, said, “You cannot join the dots looking forward. You can only join them, looking backwards.” You have to trust that everything ultimately joins to a glorious end. And what magnificent hope if that trust rests in the sovereign God who knows the end from the beginning.
I realized how much the present shape of things in my life was shielded behind my anxieties, wild dreams and earnest prayers.
We all write. We do. Only that we may not be exactly careful where, to who, about what and why we write. As far back as I can remember, having a reasonable grasp of language, I have always had this special book (sometimes an old or unused dairy) where I wrote lots of stuff. Visit my past and discover that I used to be a music composer (a rapper for that matter), a poet (still holding strong), a playwright, a comedian and all. However, I was never consistent in tapping the intrinsic impulses of my heart for a long time.
It was until I joined the university that a consistency began to take shape. And more precisely until I joined the STEM program with FOCUS Kenya that it became even more specific. When I trace my life to the last six years, through the ‘journals’ I have had, it becomes clearer and more identifiable that growth has and is happening. The lesson here is that scattered thoughts never yield anything. No behavior, character, ideology or motivation whether good or bad can be formed without consistency. A Journal trails your thoughts long after they are thought and consolidates them as the well-spring of life.
No behavior, character, ideology or motivation whether good or bad can be formed without consistency.
A special book
I think my journal is attractive. At least to me. I am about a page or two from filling up my first real journal. It is an A4 size which I have tapped against ageing, stuck my photo on its front page and in which I try my best to used only blue ink. Whenever I come to my room after a long day or a week away, and set my eyes on it, it immediately draws my attention, either to read or write on it. And yes, I have already bought its replacement. The one to be unveiled is a hard cover one draped in a map of the world for I have since become a missionary and a map is to a missionary what a windscreen is to a driver. You do not see the whole way but you certainly see where you need to go.
This is a life hack: do not journal in a boring book. It will only tire your thoughts and make them gloomy. Worse still, you may and will lose them. For even thoughts want to be treated fairly. As a matter of fact, thoughts have rights. Thank me later.
It certainly has not been too obvious that I journal. I have goes for days, even weeks without writing anything on the journal. But not without writing. Sometimes I just do not feel like it. Other times, I do not want to write what I think because it will not fill up an A4 page and I want every entry to be at least that long – am that wrong. Even the simplest and shortest of thoughts is key. You may not walk around with a thought recorder but whenever you can, do not shy from putting it down on paper (wapi nduru ya kasuku).
For even thoughts want to be treated fairly. As a matter of fact, thoughts have rights.
Mary’s treasured thoughts, deep hearted prayers and joyful songs are a record, today, that forms part of the word of life. Treasure yours today and I guarantee you that one of these fine days you’ll look back and be glad you did. A journal is your External Heart Disk. In it you immortalize the thoughts of your heart and keep a grip on them.