Writing to Remember


This hot day makes me long for all things fall especially the cool breezes – they are just around the corner! I know they are!

Would you think with me of past autumn weather? What does it call to mind? What smells do you associate with it? There are flavors that are present in the fall like Pumpkin Lattes, apple crisp and butternut squash. Warmer clothes come out at this time of the year and who does not love the sound of the crunch of fallen leaves beneath our feet? Do you have a fall memory or story?


One of my favorite autumn memories happened when our second son, Joel, went off to college. That first fall was difficult for him as he was making the transition from home to college and his mind was on what was left behind. As the leaves started falling he remembered how every year he had heard me exclaim my love for this cooler season and the colorful leaves especially. He ventured out on campus and picked up the most colorful leaves he could find, collected them into an envelope  he had covered with duct tape to protect them and sent it to me with a little note that told me how they reminded him of me. Of course my heart melted with feeling known and loved by this precious son.

This particular memory is warm and rich but embedded in it is a sadness for a time which was, but is no more. I could write and discover more within this memory, more about how I felt letting go of that dear boy, of the creativeness of this sensitive young man, of my feelings and memories of starting a new season, the beauty of autumn,  as well as saying goodbye. This story could have gone wherever my pen and my heart led it.

There is much more to be discovered because..”memory is what people are made of…And if memory is what people are made of, then people are made of loss…The present is all that’s genuinely available to anyone, and the present is fleeting always turning instantly to the past.” (from Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach)

“One of the many curious things about the act of writing is the way it can give access to the unconscious mind.” You and I have heard this so many times, but let’s think of it in terms of accessing that which was lost…it helps us find it again. It helps us to process it deeper and to find out more about something that we only have the memory of, the actual thing is gone forever. Our writing about it is a way of bringing it back but at a deeper level.

There is something magical and powerful about writing. It not only recalls the memory but it invites us to learn from it, to explore it, to find it as teacher to our present moment.


How are you doing with your journaling? Have you given yourself permission to take a few minutes to process your thoughts and memories? Have you been triggered lately?  If you take the time to go deeper with the memory, the feeling, I guarantee you will find out more. And isn’t that why we are here- to continue to grow, learn and heal? Opening our heart to Christ’s redemptive work within these memories or moments opens space for Him to speak, to comfort, to teach.

Here are a few prompts if you would like a bit of help:

  • When __________said______________, I felt_____________________.

Keep the pen moving to discover where the trigger was and what you might do to process it further.

  • Tonight I feel ______________________________.
  • What am I feeling right now?
  • Where did I see God working today?
  • What is worrying me today?
  • How did I feel God comforting me today?
  • What strength did I find in myself today?

Take one of these, open up your journal, and write away. You may be very surprised at what you discover.

Hey, I love you all and am so thankful for your continued commitment to being learners and to living freely with Christ and all that loving and believing Him has to offer.

Deane Watters, The Ultimate Journey Director

Deane Watters, The Ultimate Journey Director