In a strange way, Anne Lamott is partially responsible for getting me into digital scrapbooking.
I stumbled upon digital scrapbooking, because I wanted to record Isaac’s first year of life, but I was unhappy with the traditional baby books I found. And I wanted to record Isaac’s first year of life because a friend recommended I read Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott.
In many ways, Operating Instructions is simply Sam Lamott’s baby book. But it covers so much more than the typical baby book (and Anne Lamott is an extraordinarily gifted writer.) In her journal, she not only covers Sam’s first words and first visitors, but the agony of colic. The balancing act of trying to work and take care of a baby. The wonderful community that surrounds them, the blessings of their church, and the really dark times when being a parent seems like the hardest task in the world. She does more than just record Sam’s first year, she tells the story of their first year together, mother and baby.
I’ve fallen in love with digital scrapbooking for a number of reasons, but my main motivation is always to tell the story that God has placed me in, and by telling it, tell his story.
I’d actually been a fan of Anne Lamott since I read Bird by Bird, which I would consider to be one of the essential books on the writing life. And because I loved Bird by Bird, I read her memoirs on faith Traveling Mercies. And while, the reading of the book prceeded my conversion by at least 5 years, it was on of the first times I gave the Christian faith some thought. I remember writing quotes down from the book in my planner, and thinking that, well, she might be on to something.
While today, I would probably disagree with Anne on quite a few points of theology, I cannot deny that she understands that if God has given us a story to tell, we should tell it. And if we leave out the hard parts, the scary parts, and the ugly parts, we aren’t really telling our story and we’re not giving God all the glory He deserves.
I hope to get better at sharing the stories of the bad days Isaac and I have together. And when I don’t share the bad days, the good days lose some of their sweetness. So, let’s share our sorrows, so that we can rejoice all the more in our joys. And if digital scrapbooking isn’t how you want to tell your story, find a way that works for you. It might be painting. It might be serving along side others. It might be blogging, music, or crocheting. But I believe we were all designed for storytelling, so let’s tell our stories to each other.