A Sign of Life

chainecklace (1)

The One Word 365 site has a search feature for other people and bloggers who share your word. One fellow “Alive Tribe” member I’ve connected with is Kelly Youngblood. In the first post I read on her blog, she shared about buying a chai necklace to remind her of her word. Chai is the Hebrew word for life, the root word of the common toast l’chaim (to life!). Many Jewish people wear chai necklaces to remind themselves of the symbol’s different meanings, which you can read about here.

I’m increasingly drawn to meaningful jewelry, so immediately I knew that I wanted – nay, needed – a chai necklace too. But I had just splurged on a ring from my Etsy favorites list and didn’t want to spend any more. Then I remembered the two diamond pendant necklaces in my jewelry box. They were gifts from my ex-husband, pretty but not exactly my taste. I hadn’t worn them since my divorce because, to me, they just screamed Generic Wife Gift. I was never especially attached to them. Over the years I’d thought a few times that I should sell them and get something I loved with the money, but never got motivated to do it. Now I decided that I’d been saving them for this moment. I would exchange these symbols of a lost marriage to a man who never fully saw me for a statement of a full life and God’s sustaining love. It was perfect.

So, a couple of Saturdays ago, I went to a local jeweler of good repute to sell the necklaces. I felt really positive about my decision. But something unexpected happened while the jeweler’s assistant was writing up the paperwork. I looked at those diamonds shining up at me from the glass countertop, and suddenly grief and the familiar old feeling that I didn’t want to do this welled up in me. I reminded myself that I had felt excited about it just moments before and that this was an affirming and constructive thing to do. Still, I felt like I was ripping out a piece of my heart. I took the money, and barely made it out the door of the store without crying. (It was a little humiliating, but they probably see emotional displays regularly.) It took me about an hour to stop.

I couldn’t even remember my last hard-hitting “Oh Yeah, I Had A Husband Once” moment, the kind that lurks around innocent-looking corners waiting to snipe you. They reduced their full-scale attack on me a long time ago. But I’m sharing this story as proof that they can still get you years down the road, so don’t be surprised or feel ridiculous when it happens. I had forgotten that it’s always painful to part with something connected to a person you loved who is irrevocably gone – it doesn’t matter how long it’s been. There was also a new layer of grief that I hadn’t faced before: knowing that I might never have another experience of receiving a special gift from a man I love. I mean, we’re all hoping for the best, but this is a real possibility that I have to address realistically once in a while. Like faith, grief applies itself to your life in new ways as your life changes.

Once the bout passed, I dried my tears, got online, and ordered myself a chai necklace. It arrived last weekend, and I’ve been wearing it almost constantly. (I’m a little worried that it might be offensive to Jews for me, a Christian, to wear a chai, but Kelly had the same concern and a friend of hers told her it was okay. Plus, I’m part Jewish, so I have some claim to it, right?) My original intentions in getting the necklace are even stronger now because of this experience. This little gold disc will remind me not only to consider what it means to be Alive in the present, but also of all God has brought me through to become as fully alive as I am today, and for someday when I’ll be more alive than I can even imagine right now. It’s a declaration and a promise.

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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Posted in divorce, grief, jewelry, one word: alive

7 Responses to A Sign of Life

  1. I absolutely love this! I want to see the necklace in person :)

  2. Love this post! You are so strong! And much braver than I would ever be! Love the necklace, too!

  3. Esther Joy says:

    Beautiful, Brenda! I enjoyed this post very much. I used to wear a Jewish star with a Jesus fish on the inside around my neck as I went through a meaningful class about the holocaust. (And was often mistaken as Jewish, even in public restrooms!) So l’chaim dear friend!

  4. Good for you! This makes me extremely happy for you!

  5. Sarah says:

    I love this post times one million. What a beautiful display of love and life!

  6. Carol says:

    I love this! What a meaningful way to change the jewelry you had.

  7. Pingback: Alive: Checking In | Don't Stop Believing

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