I’ve never been any good at keeping a diary. My mother faithfully records the main points of the news of the day in hers every evening. I start one occasionally but then get a bit bored and the entries tail off into eventual nothingness.
Funny thing now though is that I keep a diary online without even thinking about it. In it I record all the things that matter to me that I feel I am happy to share with others. Generally it’s the often hilarious happenings on the train with the commuting friends I have made or the daft things that happen in the family or work but sometimes it’s other tougher incidents that are darker in tone in which I’m struggling to find the rainbow.
Who could forget the talent my nephew has for balancing a breadstick pot on his nose? Or the day I accidentally put my cardigan on upside down in front of a senior manager at work? The day that the drivetime presenter on BBC Wiltshire and I made what we claimed were state-of-the-art toys out of old coffee cups? Or two years ago today when a friend who realised I was heartbroken at the impending loss of my job, said just seven words: ‘Come on. Let’s go get a pint’?
Actually, to be honest, I would forget completely. Facebook may have its faults but as a way of reminding me of important milestones and funny moments, as well as keeping me in touch with the friends who create both those things, I really can’t complain.
It has a feature called ‘On this Day’ which tells you about the things you posted over the previous years. Sometimes those make me laugh out loud again as I relive moments of joy and hilarity while others make the lump in my throat hard to swallow as the memories thrown up bring remembered sadness and pain.
Sometimes they are a mix of both. I’m aware that a milestone birthday (as a cricket lover I suspect it’s the only 50 I’m ever likely to hit) brings with it the dangers of thinking nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. But it also gives a moment to look back, to count the ten thousand reasons for my heart to be thankful and to move on to embrace what’s coming next. And it is good sometimes to look at how far you’ve come and where you are now in relation to that and give thanks before stepping forward confidently onto the next bit.
Living life to the full is something I’ll never stop giving thanks for. The friends that I’ve made – Facebook even reminds me of that – the experiences that I’ve had through work and outside of it, the memories that now – gulp – stretch back over five decades.
Those who propped me up and drank copious pots of tea with me and the odd glass of something stronger at times when I felt lost and bereft; the support and love that has carried me at those times; the shared love and laughter that’s left me with aching ribs and unable to breathe; the hind legs that have been talked off unsuspecting donkeys. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
I really wouldn’t change a thing. Not even the days that have sometimes had to be endured and struggled through. The Psalmist says sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. As I said in the very first blog I wrote three years ago, how can we know the joy and thrill of the sunrise when we have not first experienced the darkness of the night?
What I would add three years down the line is that – for me – both those experiences have been enhanced in the case of the sunrise and easier to bear in the case of the darkness because of the people I have been blessed to know and share my life with and for whose presence in my life I continually thank God for.
Keeping a diary of the immeasurable blessings of friends. Now THERE’S an idea…