Dave gave me this necklace medallion for my birthday in 2007. I remember the day so clearly. Well, I remember some parts of the day.. kinda...
Maddock was only 10 months old, Eli 3 1/2. They were at Phil and Lorna's house for the evening. (Fantastic people, by the way).
Dave took me to Boston Pizza in Port Coquitlam that night. Money was tight and BP was a favourite splurge in those days. I'm pretty sure we ordered Spicy Perogy Pizza, we usually did... still do.
It had been a long year. Dave was a part time Master's student and a part time youth Pastor. I had been off of work on Maternity leave, which was a blessing, but between all of Dave's work and school hours, I'd been doing a lot of solo parenting of two little boys. And Maddock wasn't an easy baby. (Please feel free to bug him, he'll love that)
I don't remember the conversations of that evening out. Or what we did before or after dinner, if anything at all. But I remember the weight of the necklace around my neck. It was bigger than anything I'd worn before and it almost felt obtrusive, like it didn't belong on me.
But soon, that necklace began to feel right. I put the medallion on a chain that my mom had given me for my 13th birthday. I had it shortened by a jeweller so it sat nicely just below my throat. I loved the weight of it and the look of it. It became part of who I was, who I am. For 14 years, it stayed with me.
The design is the celtic knot for Seasons. There are 4 quadrants, each one representing it's own season. And like this design, so too have we journeyed through different seasons.
This past summer, on my kayak trip, I laid in bed reading. As I rolled over, I heard a metal clink on the floor. I scrambled out of my bed to search for what had made the noise.
My medallion lay on the linoleum. The silver loop that held the charm to the chain had worn right through from the years of use and the charm had broken free.
My breath caught in my chest. I felt for a moment like I'd lost a dear friend. I was immediately grateful that I was cozy in my room and not out of a kayak in the middle of the ocean. My necklace was safe, it just need a jeweller and a little fix. I simply needed a new link.
We have spent so many seasons together, Dave and I. None of them particularly easy, but none without love. And I'm reminded today, as I look at my still broken necklace, that the seasons will continue to roll. And some will be light and joyful and some will be heartbreaking and terrible. And some will be terrible and joyful at the same time.
This image of the loop that holds 2 things together has such meaning for me right now. As I've learned, this link can become fragile over time and if not cared for, can break. But I also know, that the damage is not necessarily forever, it can be fixed or renewed.
I think of the links currently in my life. I have a broken relationship with my 11 year old son. But this season, we are doing counselling together and carving out time for positive one on one activities. This is one of those terrible and joyful at the same time seasons.
I think of my link to my exercise that help keep my body strong despite daily chemotherapy. To be honest, this link is a little weak but I am already on the path of strengthening it... and my body loves it when I keep moving. For me, it is a joyful season to be able to move.
This family has a lot of loops that need tending to. If each of us has one loop to represent our relationship with each other person in this house, that is....I suck at math... but I have a calculator... 42? loops just dealing with relationships. Now add all the loops to other relationships outside of the house, links to events and work and school... the list goes on for a long time.
And in each season, those loops may be stronger or weaker or even broken, but with each season, you have the choice of how to tend to those loops, those links to others.
I remember, way back when Maddock was a screaming, fussy baby and my necklace was new, my friend Renice said to me, "this is just a season, it too shall pass".
Those words have stayed with me for these 14 years and not because I've been trying to rush out of every bad season, but because they give me some perspective on how I want to behave through each season. There have been seasons of sorrow and I hope that I have suffered well. There have been seasons of joy and fun and mischief and I have poured out gratitude for those times. There have been seasons of exhaustion and pulling back and I know that relationships have suffered in those times, but when the rest renews the spirit, the loop to those relationships can become strong again.
And as surely as Renice predicted, the season of the cranky, fussy baby did pass, and the boy that emerged, has rarely complained about a thing since...except maybe when there's not enough food for his constantly hungry, lanky body.
This too shall pass. The next may be worse, or it may be better. The links and loops may weaken or break or be repaired. But for me, with each new season, each new turning of the tide, I am given a renewed sense of hope. And hope, can carry you through any season.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13