Dad kept a diary of daily events for close to twenty years. After both of my parents died, I became the family historian. That meant I had room to store the keepsakes no one wanted to part with: Dad’s diaries, Mom’s old cards, assorted pictures, etc. For several years it all remained in storage, until last fall when I pulled out Dad’s diaries and I began to read.
At Christmas time I gave a diary to each of my siblings. Immediately they paged through it and chuckles were heard around the room, along with exclamations of, “Listen to this!” They took their “treasure” home and read it throughout the year. Periodically I heard a comment or two from my family about something from Dad’s life that impressed them.
The passing years had increased the diaries value to us because we’d forgotten many of the events, and more importantly, how Dad responded to them. Life was no less daily or ordinary for Dad, than it is for us. He recorded who they visited or talked to that day, what was served for lunch, how much he spent on groceries, family illnesses, the weather, his broken down cars or frozen water pipes. But always, he praised the Lord for His faithfulness and loving care in the midst of life’s struggles. His gratitude was not kept silent, but expressed verbally, often with tears, and recorded for his family to remember years later.
Dad worked as a common laborer who rarely complained or grumbled about his job or his problems. He was a humble, quiet man with a huge heart and strong faith. He left us a precious legacy that’s been sweet to rediscover.
This Christmas I brought out more journals for my family, including some of Dad’s grandchildren, to select and take home with them.
Next we’ll start in on Mom’s “treasures,” and rather than keeping them confined in a storage box, we’ll let our lives be enriched by our common history, and a journey into the past.