I was in a hotel room after the first day in Milwaukee, journaling. It had been a very long time since I’d sat down with paper and pen to journal about my “feelings.”  I’ll journal here, typing furiously or sometimes painfully slow, depending on my emotions in that moment. And I journal through books of the Bible sometimes as my devotional. I write down notes on paper in meetings, at conferences. But I’ve stopped the “Dear Diary” kind of moments.

Looking back at that entry today, I understand why.

You don’t censor yourself when having that journaling moment. And I mostly don’t censor here, I guess, but there are details left out “to protect the innocent.” So the words in that red spiral notebook hit me hard today. It was December 4th, the Thursday night of one of the worst weeks of my life, professionally and personally. I needed to process my day but the feelings I’d left back in Arizona kept returning. So they were weaving very carefully into what I wrote that night about my day in Milwaukee. Then soon they took over almost completely.

The entry is about regret, being scared, disappointment and hurt.

And I admitted something to myself that I’m still not sure has validity, but it’s true because it was how I felt in that moment. And reading it now also helps me know it is still true (in the emotions) and that is causing me to pause.

How much of our prayers, our desires for something beautiful on this earth, are simply a result of wanting something redeeming and good and lovely to be born out of our pain? How much of our anxiety and the chaos around us cause so many overwrought feelings, that while on some level are truth, have been magnified because of the brokenness that surrounds us? I just wanted something beautiful to happen in the midst of a horrible situation… but would I pray for that same thing if the situation weren’t so painful?

This is the ache of living in the already and the not yet. This is our consequence for taking that forbidden bite. We know how things ought to be. But we will never have them on this earth. Yet we long for them anyway. How much of the sorrow in my prayers is just about relieving the pain rather what is actually true?

This is one of those “search the heart” and ‘search the mind” moments. I getting pretty tired of them.


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