Why does handwritten matter?

Do you remember when journaling became a thing? I do. And I thought it was funny because I had been writing in a journal, doodling and pondering thoughts on paper for as long as I could remember.

Someone in my freshman dorm gifted me with a real hard bound journal for my birthday. It was a precious gift. A book full of empty pages.

I remember at the time prizing the pages so much that I thought long and hard about what words were worthy of filling the space. Additionally, I wanted to be careful of those words in case anyone were to read them.

Safe in the cedar chest my dad built for me, this first handwritten book, and the volumes that have followed are stored like a library of my life.

This handwritten collection contains giddy stories of a budding romance and the life-giving joy of emerging faith. There are ponderings on mothering and marriage, full of the ebb and flow of relationships. Handwritten prayers and scripture fill pages from certain seasons of loneliness and isolation. God was my pen pal, a faithful friend who sat silent, listened and comforted me with His presence.

These journals are real and raw. Much like the psalms of David, deeply felt emotions are laid bare within some of the pages. These handwritten pages were primarily useful for venting and releasing to God what otherwise would have been stuffed deep only to rot and become a bitter root. However, the therapeutic benefits of writing through the emotional upheavals of life carried me into a clear space of peace, gratitude, repentance and hope with the guidance of my Wonderful Counselor.

Why would I keep such sorrow and darkness for someone else to read, to know and to judge? Because it’s real life! It’s not AI manufactured, and it’s not social media sanitized.

I keep these journals because without the whole of the emotion a person can’t possibly recognize the miraculous hand of God intervening, rescuing and restoring to abundant life.

One day, our sons will become the curators of the collection. They’ll find not only their grandfather’s fabulous craftsmanship in this solid wood cedar chest, they’ll find a family treasure chest of memories. Photo albums, journals, handwritten cards and letters, and a few long held trinkets. There are a number of family Bibles passed down to me. One will be fourth generation to them from my great grandmother Becky, who was so instrumental in my spiritual development.

I have no mandate for them. Keep. Read. Burn. Throw away. Save for the next generation. Some or all of these. The choices will be theirs.

I’ve been asked, “Why would you keep these for your children to read.” My answer is simple. This is our story. It’s at least my perspective on our history. If anyone looks less than Shiney in these pages, it’s me. They are my words written in my handwriting mixed with tears and coffee stains.

I’m probably on a soapbox of a losing battle, but I believe our children and grandchildren will benefit from handwritten books. The stories of their parents and grandparents and possibly generations beyond. Perhaps a remnant will rise up who will preserve the past, and hand write their history. Perhaps they will glorify God and what He’s done.

Maybe I’m leaving a legacy for those who will not succumb to writing via AI or produce art artificially manufactured by AI. Perhaps God will breathe on this hope and effort and my artifacts will not be offered in vain.

Something to ponder…

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,


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7 thoughts on “Why does handwritten matter?

  1. I’m with you about AI, Lisa. No thank you! My handwriting got really bad back when I was a newspaper reporter and had to take notes really fast, so I type practically everything now. Including my prayer journal, which serves for me the same purpose yours does. I can sit down in the morning distracted and anxious, and by the time I’m done, my heart is settled and I’m ready to get on with the day. As for whether anyone else will ever read them, I’m guessing not. I don’t even look back at them, unless I’m trying to figure out when something happened. 🙂

  2. Lisa, this post hits on so many reasons to handwrite our stories. Years ago, I threw many of mine away as I didn’t want my words and emotions to be known. But lately I have been feeling a pull to begin again. Our handwritten stories bring connection and it is what we all need – connection to one another and to our God. I’m grateful you shared your post!

    1. Thank you, Joanne, for stopping to read and comment. I too have struggled with whether to throw away, shred or keep. Seasons change and so does perspective. I think my cedar chest helped me to feel I could place my words in the vault of safekeeping. I’m grateful I held on. Sometimes when I go back and read long ago words, I realize there’s more good than I remember.
      Thank you again for sharing in the conversation.

  3. Lisa, I think you and I may be more alike than I realized. I’ve also kept journals for many years, though I’ve slacked off a bit. I am going to start it up again! But mine, too, are filled with longings, heartaches, joys, really taken from all of life. Like you said, they give my perspective on life through its many seasons. And, if nothing else, it’s a history for our children to read through and connect to their history, too. Blessings and love and hugs to you, dear sister!

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