Taken from a 2000 word essay, this short is the beginning to the unfolding of my spirituality.
I heard the call. It wasn’t a whisper or a delicate voice or loud words urging me to transcribe thoughts to paper. The call did sound like an alarm, telling me it was time to awaken a dormant spirit. I was ready to give voice to my ideas, the beginning of my storytelling.
When I was fifteen, a pink hardcover book invited me to fill its blank lined pages. A latch was glued to the back of the book and fit snugly into a lock glued to the top. I held my first journal in my hands, a gift from my mother. I think she thought every girl my age should keep a diary, especially a pink one.
I never felt I had to keep my journal locked. Under lock and key meant what was enclosed between the front and back covers was too private—that I had something to hide. It also seemed self-righteous, as if my words were sacred, only to be opened by a holy one. Such a book, shrouded in reverence, reminded me of the Holy Bible at church. When I was a child and Father Sullivan would say Catholic Mass on Sundays, the Holy Book traveled in the opening procession to the pulpit for the Gospel, then sat atop the altar in celebration of the Eucharist. Father would hold the Big Book up to the congregation, signaling the start of the Mass; the large golden clasp sparkled in the overhead lights, revealing an ornate design. The Book was unlatched and opened in ceremony. The holy words were set free as the pages were read aloud. I could almost see a spirit rise and travel from the altar to the congregation as a story was told.
Neither out of reach, nor out of mind, my pink journal rested on the middle shelf in the middle cubby atop my bedroom desk as if it was the center of attention where Nancy Drew mysteries, a black ceramic bank that was indeed a pig, and a small terrarium surrounded it. I lifted my book of words from its place, held it firmly in anticipation of forthcoming dialogue and carried it to a sequestered spot on the floor at the foot of my bed in ceremony, ready to commence writing upon release of the latch. The pages would be free and my words released. I didn’t want my written words to be cloistered. I wanted them to be open and available to me, to expand. I wanted them to breathe, evoking my spirit.
Journal writing fulfilled my need to organize my thoughts, to have a conversation with . . . someone, to feel not alone, to learn about myself. I was a little girl growing up, eager for clarity in an adult world I found disorienting. I believed that my vision of the world was not just about me but about all else living. I began to think about having a place and that there must be a purpose. I yearned for inner guidance to navigate my world, to understand that there are other me’s and houses and Carlisle Streets worlds away.
I lifted my bowed head in contemplation about what to write, not only acknowledging my immediate surroundings but also tapping into the beyond. I sensed a presence I could not define—an indescribable intangible. I didn’t question it or its purpose. I believed my spirituality was born.