When Christians try to encourage other people in the practice of journal keeping (a practice I highly recommend, by the way) they often cite as one of the reasons it’s a good idea the fact that a journal gives you a record of where you’ve been and what God’s done in your life. I can affirm this, but I can also tell you that I haven’t gone back and reread a journal in years, if not decades, because I tend to be verbose (I know–you’re shocked) and it kind of feels like really time-consuming self-absorption to me.
But apparently you can get similar benefits from going to your Facebook wall and clicking on a year in the sidebar that happened more than five years ago, and scrolling through all the posts. They’re shorter, they involve other people, and if you were a regular with the status updates like I used to be, they trigger a whole lot of memories and realisations and hopefully gratitude, in a much shorter period of time.
I say this from the experience of about five minutes ago. Earlier this evening I posted the following:
Two Thousand Eight was a pretty significant year for a number of reasons, but two of the reasons were that it was the year I was diagnosed with and treated for cancer (surgically–other treatment came later) and the year I began working at Now Church–which is about to stop being Now Church and just be Church, I guess. After I posted that picture, I thought, I wonder what else is on Facebook from that year. A lot, it turns out. I have, and have always had, it seems, a very supportive network of friends and family. Life moves people around and you lose touch with some of them. There were people supporting me through my cancer diagnosis whom I rarely if ever see now, but I’m grateful for them to this day, and I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made in the meantime. My overwhelming impression right now is of God’s constant, active, personal presence in life, both in the joyful and the painful times. The other impression, if my Facebook wall from 2008–or any other year, for that matter–is any indication, is that He most frequently makes His presence known through other people.
So thanks, past, present, and future friends, for transmitting God’s presence in my life, whether you know it or not.