When I was ten, I bought a bracelet at Goodwill. My family didn’t have much money, so finding such a thing was beyond special. I felt the lime green bracelet was the most beautiful thing I ever owned. I noticed a few scratches in it, but cherished the precious bangle like it was solid gold. When I wore my special treasure, I felt like a gem deep inside my soul.
The flaws were minimal compared to its beauty. Due to its size, I outgrew my bracelet within a few years. But I decided to keep it to pass down to my daughter one day. I had no doubt whatsoever that I would have children someday, and people told me I would be a very loving mother.
The bracelet traveled with me as my family moved to Maui and back. Then I took it to several other cities I lived in. In my late teens and twenties it went to Pacific Lutheran University with me, then to Ellensburg while I was at Central Washington University. As an adult, the jewelry lived in California and Arizona with me. Finally it landed back with me in Washington.
I forgot about my bracelet until about ten years ago, when I realized I would never be a mother. I felt a need to do something with it, but I couldn’t think of anything.
So the treasure sat in my jewelry box. For several reasons, I didn’t have children. Yet raising children is so difficult these days, I am now at peace with it. I truly feel I had a different calling on my life, and I feel very blessed. Of course I wonder at times, what would it be like to have a little girl? What is it really like to be pregnant? I don’t go to baby showers because it strikes a knife through my heart.
I stopped going to church on Mother’s Day a few years ago, when all the moms were given a flower. I was also handed a flower, because the person passing out the flowers assumed I was a mother. I felt like I shouldn’t have a flower, and tried to give it back. This wasn’t about feeling less valuable, but simply believing mothers deserved at least a flower on Mother’s Day. But they insisted I have a flower. It just didn’t feel right.
I know with every fiber of my being that motherhood is the hardest job in the world. On December 12, 2012, I sat staring at the TV as I followed the news about a shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School. I cried and prayed for the families and cried more and prayed more. What has this world come to? I asked myself a thousand times.
And then I remembered the bracelet. For a whole year, I prayed several times throughout the day for all the victims, using the bracelet as a reminder. Each time my eyes landed on the bracelet, I poured out my heart for God to heal the hearts of the parents, the spouses, the friends, the siblings, and the children who saw the others die.
After a while, it seemed to be easy to remember. It wasn’t a ritual, but an honor to pray for the parents of those precious souls. Eventually, after the news died down and people stopped talking about it, I moved the bracelet to keep it fresh in my mind. I didn’t want to forget to pray for them. This helped me re-focus on praying. Sometimes I prayed during the night when I woke up to use the restroom.
No matter what happened in my life, I wholeheartedly prayed for all involved.
After a year passed, I decided to put the bracelet back in my jewelry box, and thought about mailing it to the principal at Sandy Hook with a letter about my prayers for them. But for some reason, I never did.
I feel like the bracelet has now served its purpose, and that it will always be a treasure. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there. You have the hardest job on the planet, yet our society forgets you. You are treasures, and you are blessed. And for all who never became mothers, you’re in my thoughts and my prayers.~