Blogging is shorthand for keeping a Web log an electronic journal of your thoughts, your daily activities, your opinions, or anything else you think is noteworthy. What makes this type of journal-keeping different from others is that what you write is published on the Internet for anyone to read. You can post your musings on your own website, if you have one, or there are companies that will let you use their site for that purpose, such as www.blogger.com.
To say that bloggers speak candidly and often passionately is an understatement. Many of them know a soapbox when they're on one and use the opportunity to sound off on everything from their disdain for junk mail to their love of poodles. Some entries are pretty trivial, like the one describing in great detail the writer's ordinary walk to work. Others see greater possibilities for blogging, like the man who kept a record of the lessons he learned while building his own restaurant, hoping those lessons would help other budding entrepreneurs.
I'm not a blogger, per se, but I understand the importance of making note of one's thoughts and personal experiences, especially those that might benefit others. Illuminating moments and the hard-earned lessons we learn in life are valuable gifts to have, and to give. It makes sense to enlarge this circle of illumination to include others.
I keep this in mind when I'm doing my own journal-keeping. No longer do I fill pages with just any details of my day or see it as a collection of random thoughts. I think of my notes as an artist thinks of a sketchbook as a means for capturing the bare bones of what may someday be developed and refined on its way to some larger canvas for others to see, and, hopefully, to find inspiring.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, deserves credit for showing how the narratives of our lives can be more than just a record of events. Her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," is an example of what's possible. It's not only a brief account of her personal history but also a record of profound life-lessons and deep spiritual insights, especially surrounding her discovery of Christian Science. Since she devoted so much of her life to understanding God and following His direction, it should come as no surprise that her reminiscences shine with the glow of spiritual discovery. The value of these narratives, as Mrs. Eddy saw it, was the extent to which they showed readers what guided the conduct of her life. She wrote, "Mere historic incidents and personal events are frivolous and of no moment, unless they illustrate the ethics of Truth" (pg. 21).
What if we approached our everyday conversations this way, too, always ready to share the rich lessons and insights that have guided our own lives? Think how this would transform ordinary conversations. What we say and how we say it has the potential to change the direction of someone's life, to show him or her the way out of trouble, to lift them out of depression or heal their pain. When our intent in speaking or writing is unselfish, and aimed at helping others, we're naturally more thoughtful, compassionate, honest Godlike. Such conduct inevitably has a good effect.
An acquaintance of mine spends a lot of his time e-mailing messages back and forth with friends. More often than not, in their messages to him, these friends bring up something that's bothering them a sour relationship, joblessness, boredom. He doesn't treat their comments as small talk or see the discussion as his chance to grandstand. Instead, he sees the exchanges as a way to help, drawing on the inspiration and lessons of his own life that have helped him.
What a refreshing difference to see such a high value put on what we say to one another, whether face to face or through a journal. It's one thing to see them as occasions to climb onto a soapbox. It's quite another to see them as opportunities to take listeners or readers to the mountaintop.
Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.