It’s not Fashion. It’s Mission.

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A two-ring circus, with three necklaces to boot.

I’m not good at jewellery, at least not as a fashion statement. I have lots of pretty things hanging on a corkboard in my closet, but there are only a few pieces that I wear with any regularity, rings and necklaces that I take off only if I’m rock climbing, working with power tools or handling raw meat. The few pieces I do wear are meaningful to me. There’s my great-grandmother wedding ring, a simple gold band that I’ve had for over twenty years. I wear it on my left hand, and it reminds me of my ties to family. On my right hand, I wear a silver ring dotted with sapphires, a gift to myself on my thirty-third birthday. “Independence” I thought, having by that time given up on my husband’s buying gifts for me. With no small amount of bitterness, I might add. I’ve given up on that, the bitterness part, having finally realized that it poisons no one but me. Then there are the necklaces. Three of them. The first is a silver charm necklace with a whimsical heart design. On the back, there is an engraving that says “When you wear this, remember me.” My daughters gave me this necklace for Christmas two years ago. Since then, I’ve worn it so much that the gold plating has worn off the heart and the chain is tarnishing. I don’t care about that; and, I don’t feel quite like myself if I’m not wearing it. What could be more meaningful than this, a gift from the ones who know me better than anyone else–and love me anyway? Love, that’s what it says. Remember Me colour I also wear a large silver key on a chain around my neck. When people ask—and they often do because it looks big enough to open a bank vault–I explain that it is my “Kind Speech Key”. It reminds me to speak kindly to others, to be honest and compassionate, and if I can’t do that, then it tells me to keep my mouth shut. I will reach up and touch it more than once in the course of an ordinary day. silvwe key 2 And then there’s the newest addition: a teardrop-shaped blue sapphire on a delicate silver chain. This one, much to my amazement, was given to me by my husband who, as I said, is not a fan of ritualized gift-giving. “It’s too hard,” he says. “And besides, I don’t know what you like.” He points to the time he brought me a beautiful gold bangle from the Emirates, or wherever it was he was traveling. “You never wore it,” he says, and it’s true. It clunked on my wrist and got in the way, especially if I was typing. It’s fine for dress-up occasions, but those are pretty rare. blue sapphire So I was stunned when this necklace appeared last Christmas–not least of all because it was preceded by two carefully chosen books. It was a blue sapphire, no less. My favourite. I burst into tears upon unwrapping it. But despite the sentiment, I didn’t wear that necklace for the longest time. It’s delicate, and the clasp is a bit of a challenge. I was afraid of losing it and–I’ll be honest–I was skeptical about the whole thing. My husband giving me jewellery? Huh? And then it dawned on me. Grow up. Accept it with grace. A necklace is meant to be worn and since I’m looking for ways to keep my heart open, this thoughtfully given gift can serve as a reminder too. Laying alongside my daughters’ hearts and the silver key, I now have the sky blue touchstone of an open mind. Something to remind me that I always have a choice. I don’t have to take the bait that my reactive mind is forever dangling in front of me—my husband never gives me thoughtful gifts…oh but look, he just did— I can pause and sit quietly instead, waiting for the edge of negative emotion to wane and for basic wisdom to return in its stead. This works, provided I am aware enough to catch it. Love. Speak Kindly. Keep an open mind. All I have to do is reach just above my heart and everything falls in my hand. So maybe I’ve got it wrong. I am good at jewellery. No, not as a fashion statement, but as mission statement. Now what do you say we do something about those wrists?

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