Three sterling silver necklaces of graduated lengths with different chains and distinctive drops hang around my neck. I wear these even when I shower and sleep.
The first, a gift from my husband,emblem of the famous Atlas Clock outside Tiffany’s in New York City has Roman numerals III, VI, IX, XII on a delicate chain. When I first received the necklace, I worried, is it too tight? Or I guess my neck is too big. But now I see where it hangs sets the drop in relief.
The second I received from a friend for graduating from seminary. A four-seasons pendant, my friend commemorated not only that arduous achievement, but also marked the season she and I had spent together in Bible Study Fellowship, where we had learned that with privilege comes responsibility: “A season of preparation for a lifetime of service.”
The third necklace I purchased inJerusalem. Also known as the Crusaders’ cross, the Jerusalem cross has a variety of explanations associated with its history, my preference that the four arms represent the four gospels that surround the center cross symbolizing the Person of Jesus Christ. This necklace hangs from the longest chain so it dangles nearest my heart. For me, the emblem signifies eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Time, seasons, eternity. A trinity for how to measure life.
At first my daughters cringed as if by wearing three necklaces together I had broken some kind of fashion rule, but I have received more comments and questions about the necklaces than anything I have ever worn, including shoes.
Once I wore shoes, an unmatched pair—the exact same style but one was navy and the other black—the mistake made in a dark closet. When at last someone brought this to my attention, I exclaimed, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Their reply, “We thought you did it on purpose to teach us something.”
Somehow these necklaces teach me how to keep track of time.
I suppose my preoccupation with time has something to do with growing older. Suddenly there doesn’t seem to be enough time for all that I want to do.
A book I am reading has me thinking about time because I can identify with its author. She said, “I used to see my life as an enormous self-improvement project, a work perpetually in progress. At any given time, it was flawed, imperfect, awkward and approximate, like the first draft of a manuscript, but I hoped there was plenty of time ahead for me to polish up the rough spots, revise, edit and produce an acceptable final product.”
And like the writer, now “I wonder if I have the courage to go slower as I grow older, to become quieter, to go deeper, and to absorb and accept … to hurry less and experience more.”
The psalmist enjoins, “Teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely” (Psalm 90:12 NET).