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Write it Down!

Updated: Feb 9

“Write it down. Write it down. Write it down,” my mother would say. As a prolific and accomplished author she knew the power of even a scribbled note to keep the past present, and she followed her own advice.


“We think we’ll remember, and we don’t,” she’d warn.

And did I listen? One of my big regrets is the notebook I didn’t keep of my daughter, Evelyn’s, running commentary through childhood. When she was three and half, she bolted into the aisle at a Catholic wedding, gestured at the priest, and shouted, “Mommy, why is that man wearing a dress?” A year before that when I told her I didn’t want to see her fingers in the apple juice she told me to close my eyes.


My quotable daughter was grown by the time I sat down to list moments in my life when God said or did something to remember. The day of my first list, I settled into the chair where I pray and waited and worked to reclaim and write down important moments before they melted away.


Now I keep a journal close by to jot life-giving reminders (we humans need reminders) of God’s loving desire to be personally known.

Often enough he’s in the people around me, or I see him in an incident, a wink, an ah-ha. Bishop Barron would say we hear him all the time; he speaks to us in our conscience.[1]

These excerpts from my journal should in no way limit or define where and how you or any person sees God. I submit them now only to prime your thinking with some of mine:


·      I was in kindergarten when my father taught me to pray, taking me to our Father for my deepest needs. Besides Dad’s daily faith, that lesson in prayer, in me, is his greatest legacy.

·      One day I came to work planning to resign when a sensation of hands on my shoulders seemed to gently say, “Not yet.” I waited, and unbeknownst to me that day my boss received devastating personal news. Four weeks later, at the right time, I gave notice.

·      At Mass, especially during Communion, I’m aware of a Presence I could never imagine or conjure.

·      Nature graces my days in changing trees, flowers in shifting light, a cardinal’s concerto, sunrise, sunset, a night sky, a newborn’s gaze . . .

·      My next heartbeat, my next breath.

·      Dreams.

Once, three different times in as many days, license plates spoke to me like well-timed punch lines. The first was just after my iPhone reminded me to return a friend’s call. I was tired and procrastinating when a car pulled ahead of me with the license plate JESUS. Enough said. I called my friend and was glad I did.


The next day I indulged in fretting about my countless personal shortcomings. As I drove along, my brows furrowed, a car pulled ahead of me with the license plate FAITH.


My third roadway intervention came on the drive home after a long day with my 95 year-old Mom. Nearing the house, I glanced up to a plate shouting ATITUDE and laughed out loud. An “attitude of gratitude” leaves no room for self-pity.


(As a friend of mine might say, I don’t build my theology on license-plate sightings but neither do I underestimate God’s playfulness.)

Write it down, write it down, write it down.

 [1] Listen to the Voice of God! Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermons, January 16, 2024, episode 363 @ 1:19

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