But all this is beside the point. I am a serial journal writer, I have been since college. I have boxes and boxes of journals (uniform composition books, actually) in storage. I always have a journal on my nightstand, it travels with me in my carry-on when I am in transit, it is always with me where ever I go. The routine of writing is soothing, clarifying and, sometimes, enlightening. I have often said that the habit of writing in my journal is, for me, a spiritual discipline. There is a daily routine, safe place to explore internal realities, pray on paper, listen to what comes as the pen spills ink across each page. Of all the disciplines - and I know Richard Foster and Dallas Willard have lists - writing in my journal has been the most enduring for me. The most nourishing. The one I return to, even after a lapse in discipline from season to season.
But maybe blogging is a new spiritual discipline. If so, it is one that thwarts me in different ways. Journaling is about the writing - the words poured onto the page, the pen in hand, motion of creating a personal font as your thoughts materialize in ink. There is a simplicity about it. But I find translating writing to a blog layered with a bit more complexity. Beyond pen and paper... instead of pen and paper... there are websites, blog warehouses like Word Press, Typepade and Blogspot. Other things are necessary like electricity, bandwidth, formating, knowing how to navigate the sites and add media. As formats on various platforms change - you have to keep up and adapt.
So I can write, even habitually. But I get hung up with posting and all the related pitfalls. Once I get a thought out there... that should be it. But posting on a blog from Burundi never seems to be that easy. I trip over changing formats and having to learn them (again). And so my time is tripled because I have to tangle with technicalities, most of which I don't understand. And then there are the contingencies I cannot control - inadequate bandwidth to maneuver the necessary sites or upload posts, or maybe electricity is out altogether and I am shut down. I get easily frustrated by the set backs, the inability to solve technical or formatting problems. I get thrown by bandwidth and electricity... my blogging attempts dashed. So I tend to not post to avoid the irritations, required adjustments and the things I cannot control. Picking up my journal is so much easier... and more private.
But spiritual disciplines are meant to challenge us, to press upon us and produce a person more fully formed, more ready to engage with God in His world. Maybe approaching blogging from Burundi is a way to learn patience, the reality of limits, surrendering to what I don't know, gaining the fortitude to keep trying and learning amid a changing landscape. Maybe instead of avoiding blogs (to avoid frustrations) I should engage the work as a discipline that can teach me something. Maybe this is a new practice that can push me toward fresh personal growth. One thing is certain - blogging from Burundi will be a discipline, something that will require effort and a degree of perseverance.
Dare I try again?