I pulled a box up from the basement last week. The box is full of journals and photos written and taken between the ages of 15 and 25. About 2x3 feet, the contents have traveled from Maui to MA, from MA to OH, from OH to ME and back to OH. I have added to the contents from time to time but have largely have left them undisturbed. There are hundreds of pages of detailing my internal processing from times in my life when I felt as if I had few to speak with and fewer still to trust. From early crushes to first kisses. From the betrayal of my mother reading my journal and discovering I am a lesbian to the death of my father--it's all there. There are letters to and from ex-girlfriends and letters from friends and family when I went to college. I was laughably earnest...really, "womyn" and "heterosexist assumption" peppered the pages! And, looking back, I wonder what I might have said to that 16 year old girl? What words would have made a difference, what words would I have heard? As my friend Byl would say, "I was an unholy mess of a girl"--but in the "messiness" of it all, I learned what I needed to learn in order to step out into the world and stand firmly by the belief that I am indeed wonderfully and fearfully made. I love because, at times in my life when I couldn't love myself, there were people who loved me and convinced me that God loved me. Going through those old journals induced an odd melancholy--at the same time tho' it made me more acutely aware of the debt of gratitude I have to the adults in my life who truly shepherded me through those difficult years. Thank you--I'm not entirely sure I would have made it without you.