I once wrote down in a journal all my memories up to the birth of our first child. I wish someone had written down my life from birth till I was 17 years old.
I wish I could remember why I started keeping a diary. I know I was influenced to write by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Henry Miller. I remember my first foster-parent having the writings of Henry Miller in her library and reading them. I remember reading the poetry of Ginsberg and Kerouac's novel "On The Road" when I was in 12th grade.
When I became a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ in August 1970 I remember writing, but not all the time. I remember my first year of college a local state college having to keep a diary for Psychology class. I wish I had that diary now, but it was destroyed when I burned all my diaries in 1978. The reason why I still have the Diary of 1978 is because I could not destroyed a half a year of diaries. I started writing in the Spring of 1979 when Carol and I got back from our honeymoon. But I still have the diaries of 1978 that described my existence in Richmond California.
I do remember writing a diary my second year of college at a small liberal arts Christian college on Mackinac Island here in the State of Michigan. I also burned those diaries before I left California to start Bible College in Grand Rapids Michigan.
I do remember writing a diary when I was having a love relationship with a woman named Tykie. We went together for a couple of years and I remember writing down stuff on pieces of paper.
I also remember writing all the time after Tykie and I separated and I started another love relationship with a woman named Sandy, who was divorced and had two small boys. I broke up with Sandy when I moved to Michigan to go to Reformed Bible College. All those diaries are gone, they went up in smoke. I burned the diaries from 1968 to 1977 in a huge fireplace in Sandy's house in Richmond, California. I was burning bridges and starting a new life of Christian service when I destroyed those diaries.
I remember that I wrote all the time because it was something to do in a meaningless world. I found meaning to my nowhere life by writing it down for no one to read. No one has read my diaries. Carol has never read my diaries. Carol does not read my online diaries either. When I was dating Sandy I let her read one full year of my relationship with Tykie to prove to her I did love Tykie even though we had separated. (Tykie had moved to Oregon to be with her youngest son.)
I think when I first started writing it was to come to know myself. The first thing we need to know in the beginning of our spiritual journey is self-knowledge. Keeping a diary is a way to come to self-knowledge. We can discover who we are as we write down our inner lives. It takes years of sitting down and listening to the still small voice inside our hearts and then writing it all down no matter how strange it looks or reads on paper. It can be a painful experience writing down our inner thoughts.
As a Christian it took me years to accept who I am and I still have struggles accepting myself. I want to write like a super strong Christian, but I know I am a broken weak Christian who needs divine grace each second of the day to live in this Wasteland called America.
Keeping a journal is for some a Christian discipline. A way to keep track of their spiritual development or keeping a record of God's mercies. We can record in our diary prayers of confession and prayers of praise for God's abounding grace and mercy shown to us in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people use their diary to write a history of their life. A diary can be a historical document. Something to leave behind for our grandchildren.
Keeping a diary is also a way to expression our creative selves. A diary can be a work of art. Words can be use to build work of Art. Some people can draw in their diaries. We do not have to use just words in our diaries, but we can draw images or paste in stuff like old photos or in my case I glued in the teeth of our children when they felled out, their baby teeth.
Well more could be written, but these are some of my thoughts on keeping a diary.