It's been a while since I've worn this piece of jewelry.
This slight weight used to rest reassuringly on my collar bone, just enough to know it was there, but the constant rubbing of metal on the hot, sweaty back of my neck forced me to set it aside for awhile.
Wound around the wrist is the best place to wear this bit of ornamentation that's really more.
It's not a matter of looks or "a look", rather something to make me stop and look:
to remember to open my eyes to the small, the insignificant, the lessons He has for me today.
I feel a bit like a Jew with phylacteries tied round me, but maybe it will work.....
maybe it will help me to remember?
I read my Bible first thing in the morning; I write; I pray.
It's good, and it's spirit-nourishing, but give it a few hours of cooking and cleaning and schooling and kiddos, and I'm empty and hungry, and the truths of the early morning have all but faded away.
I want to recall what I've read, but it seems to have slipped through the cracks of my busy mind as I sweep up a mess here and deal with an attitude there.
Remembering is important.
We are commanded to memorize Scripture, and I've done lots of that in my life time, but why does it seem that I can never remember what I know when I need it?
I've tacked note cards here, there, a bathroom mirror, a refrigerator's face, the dish cabinet, the chalkboard, and yet I forget to read them.
How does one remember to remember?
Our days whirl and spin, us caught like twigs in the current of everyday life, and as I go 'round again, I ask myself how?
How to remember?
If I'm gonna get this one life speeding by so quickly right, I've got to remember what I should already know.
As I lay open my reading for the day, the answer is looking me right in the eye.
James wrote it right there near the beginning of his book, this book written to the Jewish people scattered and suffering persecution, a group of people who really needed to remember truth every single day: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
I think about it as we walk to a friend's house to drop off cookies, and lay a baby fighting sleep down for her nap, dirty feet and all, and as I divvy up granola bars, and as I put clean dishes away so I can wash some more.
Could the problem not really be in the remembering, but in the doing?
Have I been deceiving myself?
Maybe the reason I'm not remembering rightly is because I'm stopping at the hearing.
Instead of hearing the truths and then doing something with them, I'm trying to just remember the words.
James makes it clearer later on: faith without works is dead.
If I want to have a faith that's alive and vibrant, and faith that can get me through every day, a faith that remembers, I've got to work it out.
I've got to do something with it.
I've got to practice my faith.
I can hear one practicing the piano, up and down and over and over her fingers fumble for notes, I hear her counting again.
Another desperately wants to make a feather pen and get out all mama's calligraphy things and learn to write beautifully all in one day. After just a few swipes of ink, she casually mentions that this might be a little harder than she thought it would be and maybe they could try it again soon?
Some days it's water color messes and other days it acrylics smeared all over the porch table and a disgruntled look that reminds that the picture hasn't turned out quite to one's liking.
Sewing needles and embroidery hoops and scissors and thread are picked up with excitement and then cast away after the string gets knotted one too many times.
Time and again I repeat the same refrain to frustrated hearts, "It takes time to learn something. Just keep practicing. The more you do it the better you get at it."
They are my words and they certainly sound good when I'm trying to train my daughters, but can I take my own advice to heart?
It's time to try.
If I'm ever going to live this life full of good works, fulfilling those things God has already ordained for me, living my life as a shining light in the darkness, and for goodness' sake remembering what I've read in my Bible this morning, I've got to actually DO what He says to do.
And the only way that's going to happen is by practicing.
Practice is the key that unlocks the door of remembrance, so I pull out that rusty old thing and twist it in the lock.
And it scrapes and catches when there is a sticky mud mess right before church, but I breathe deep and smile wide and ask everybody to kindly get cleaned up quickly and could they please wash the mud off the walls, too?
The key slides a bit.
Now the babies want to help with the meal and more carrot pieces are on the counter and in their hair than are on the plate, and I'm quite sure there's a bit of skin gonna be mixed in when I toss those carrots in the skillet, but I ask God to still my too-quick tongue, and try to find something to praise when all my untrained eyes want to see is the mess.
And the key clicks a bit farther.
Then the internet explodes and headlines scream and the world is rocked with hatred from those who can't know better and those who should know better, and I ask God to guide my mind into truth and to cool my flaming emotions and my flash-point temper......and He does.
The messes keep coming, and the blocks get scattered again, and "just one more story" turns into ten, and supper runs late, and laundry piles and topples, and every seeming hard thing is a chance to practice doing it right.
As a wise woman once said, "Daily disciplines are doors to full freedom."
I practice and practice and practice and practice, and the key turns a little further each time.
So maybe tomorrow I'll pick up the bracelet and strap it on for beauty's sake, but for remembering I'll pick up the key and open those doors wide......to a life full of not just hearing, but doing.