Write it all down

Journaling provides relaxing coping mechanism


Graphic by Langley Leverett

Story by Langley Leverett, editor in chief

At the bottom of my dresser lies a box containing six journals. Each journal is lined, dated, and includes a description of my life from the time I was 12-years-old. Keeping a journal, scribbling down every thought that comes to mind, has been a healthy crutch for the better part of my life. I can honestly testify that without writing, I would be incredibly lost.

Writing– expressing myself in doodles and random notes, furiously scratching every scream suppressed, has been my paradoxical vice. It is not a dainty habit, in fact there are some embarrassing moments of pity, harsh tones of selfishness, and one too many moments where I believed rock bottom had finally become inescapable. But it has relieved me, given me peace, and allowed for joy to soothe my anxieties. Most importantly, it brought me closer to God.

Keeping a detailed note of what has happened in my life, especially in high school, has stood as a permanent and literal reminder of how to learn from my mistakes. I’m only human, so sometimes I don’t, and yes, sometimes I have a hard time discerning bad situations from good. But at the end of the day, when ink hits the paper, I am okay. I can let every restless breath out, I can shed all the tears I need, scrawl every black hole that I am feeling, and once the book is closed, it’s done. I allow myself to feel, soaking up every emotion for the day, churning it around in my heart and mind until I am permeated with affliction, and then I let it go.

It’s not easy. It’s not something that hasn’t come without practice, or even reminders from my family to not dwell on things. Sometimes that process lasts for days, weeks– months even. Although, once it’s done, once I have stopped caring about yesterday’s outcomes, it’s over. I can acknowledge that I have tried my best, tried to turn the tables toward my benefit, but sometimes life isn’t like that. Documenting that struggle, the struggle to see that life is vague and full of gray holes, has given me a deeper understanding of how to face tomorrow’s encounters.

Documenting that struggle, the struggle to see that life is vague and full of gray holes, has given me a deeper understanding of how to face tomorrow’s encounters.”

— Langley Leverett

This year I decided that I wanted to combine my two passions– journaling and journalism– into one. I started a blog titled “Lighthouse Words” where I have decided to use my faith and my struggles for encouragement. Ultimately, my goal is to show myself that growth is possible, that people are capable of painstaking change, even if it takes time. I wanted to show others that it’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay to have moments where nothing on the face of the earth seems acceptable or fulfilling. With this, I wanted to illustrate to people that at the end of the day, the face of the earth has no impact on eternity. That God loves me, loves us, more than anything in all creation.

I am not a perfect Christian. I don’t always attend church at 10:30 a.m. sharp on Sunday morning, I don’t always say my prayers before I close my eyes to sleep. I don’t always acknowledge that God is ultimately in charge of my life, and has the final say in every emotion, action and thought. Sometimes I like to think that I can handle this life on my own, sometimes I like to pull the blinds down and barricade the doors, so I can’t hear God, can’t acknowledge what I need to face. But at the end of the day, that journal still lays next to my bed.

Even when it hurts, I pick up my black papermate pen, and I start writing. Even when I don’t have much to say, even if the walls of my heart feel precariously dreadful and empty, I write. And eventually, a prayer starts to filter out of the tip of my pen, beginning with “I don’t know who I am anymore,” to “God I love you, and I know you have the ability to bring me out of the wilderness.”

My journal has become my physical link to God, and through my love of writing, He has given me a sound mind. He has blessed me with joy, with peace, and a stable resolution in knowing that at the end of the day, when the final light blinks out of existence, I am content. It’s something that I will always be incredibly
thankful for, and I hope that I never stop writing.

My journal has become my physical link to God, and through my love of writing, He has given me a sound mind.”

— Langley Leverett

I am not perfect, and sometimes my scrawled fragments don’t make sense. Sometimes they aren’t legible, or comprehensible, but they don’t need to be. God knows my heart, knows me better than any living being on the earth. I don’t need sonnets and essays to explain this relationship, or the elation that it brings me.

However, I do want to conclude with the advice that if you are struggling, if you are attempting to find something fulfilling in your life, I urge you to find a passion. Find the passion in your life, find that healthy crutch, and let it blossom. For me, God has shown me love and compassion, and it is the most beautiful thing that words could never describe. Find your passion, find the things in life that bring you satisfaction, and pour all of your ambition into them. You won’t be disappointed.