Hi friends! It’s been a wonderful weekend of good friends and good wine, and looking at mummies and dinosaur fossils. I hope yours was equally magical!
This week, I was given a tiny miracle. Years ago, my mom gave me the Elsa Peretti “J” necklace from Tiffany & Co. for Christmas. It was special and beautiful and helped me feel like I fit in at college, and I wore it every day, including on my first trip to Africa. We arrived in Botswana during a summer heatwave, and shortly after, the pendant tarnished. Not understanding you could polish it, I was angry with myself for being so irresponsible. I mentioned it to one of the professors leading the trip (an incredible woman filled with curiosity and kindness), and she said, “but isn’t that the point of silver? It tarnishes, and then it un-tarnishes.”
This necklace has traveled with me to Scotland and Europe, Costa Rica, East Africa, southern Africa, India, New York, and Denver. In moments of stress, or when I need to feel grounded in familiarity, I touch it like a talisman that hangs against my chest. Then, several months ago, I lost it.
When you gradually become a stranger to yourself, your soul begins to send up smoke signals. I had been ignoring some underlying unhappiness for so long that I began to forget things – unusual for me and frightening. I would remember having something in my hand and then have to wander the house in search of it. Most times I left the grocery store, I’d stop at the blacktop edge of the parking lot, searching for my car while feeling like a lost child at a theme park.
So when I took the necklace off, I was careful to note that I was zipping it into a pocket in my ski coat. I waited a couple of days to search for it, and when I did, it was gone. I spread the coat out on the floor, where I sat and searched each pocket twice, once again feeling the sting of failing to take care of something so important to me. This was a consequence, I thought, of allowing myself to become such a mess.
Over the past couple weeks, with help, I’ve been working towards a fresh start. Hoping to live in gratitude and connection; be a brighter light and find ways to help others; embrace change and possibility.
Friday, I wore my ski coat to work. In the middle of a meeting, I stood up and started searching the pockets. “I keep thinking I’m going to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment,” I said, “even though I’ve searched so many times.” I pointed to a pocket with a button hole. “I’m afraid I put it into this pocket, since it has a hole.” I reached a fingertip into the bottom corner of the pocket, just like I’d done ten times before, and felt the cold links of a fine silver chain.
I was gleeful as I untangled a knot in the chain so I could return the necklace to its rightful place. As I worked, the pendant, which bears the first letter of my name, seemed to whisper, “you’re on the right track. You’re on your way.”
Isn’t that the point of this life? Sometimes we tarnish, but with hope, love, and a brave heart, we can become new again.