Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Earrings

Growing up my mom had a pair of holly earrings that she wore every Christmas. These were not anything special. They didn't have any precious stones. I am not even sure that they were metal - it is more likely that they were plastic. However they were the only pair of holiday earrings in the house. Ear piercing was around but neither my mom or I had pierced ears. As the years passed it became more and more difficult to find clip on earrings so my mom became more and more protective as the possibility of replacing any lost earrings became less and less.

It was understood that on Sunday that she would wear those earrings to church during the holidays. I never would have asked to wear them. However as I became older and began attending holiday parties on my own - such as ones for scouts or at a friend's house - I began asking to borrow them. The answer was always the same, "No, you might loose one of them."

Without having any other festive earrings I got some of my own, but I never liked them as much as those holly earrings of my mom's. That didn't stop me from asking to borrow them though. Eventually, she did occasionally relent and let me wear them, but always with a very strict warning not to loose them.

One day I asked if I could borrow them and she said no. I didn't push it and just figured that she had her reason. After several denials, I got up the courage to ask why not. It was then that she had to admit that SHE had lost one of them. I did feel a little sad to loose the earring that I had coveted for years but the feeling of satisfaction that I was not the one who lost one felt even better.

As the years passed mom did eventually get her ears pierced and began collecting a many new earrings but she never threw out the one holly earring. I know that because when she died I went through her things and found the one lonely holly earring that had been without its partner for over a decade. Although it was steeped in memories I didn't feel the need to keep one lone earring so I got rid of it. Even though the earring is long gone, I still remember them and my desire every year to wear them.

Last night I was at a new Bible study. I have been attending for just over a month. It is fairly nice but I have not had the chance to get to know many of the ladies there. We had a cookie exchange and some holiday cheer so a few of the ladies were wearing seasonal clothes and jewelry. I happened to look at the lady next to me and to my great surprise, she was wearing the same holly earrings that had haunted my childhood.

I mentioned that my mom had a pair like that when I was growing up. I told her that my mom often forbade me to wear them because she was afraid that I would loose one and in the end she was the one who lost it.

As I was packing up to leave she gave me her holly earrings. That really touched me. A woman who is almost a total stranger gave me a pair of earrings because she thought that it would make me happy. My own mom wouldn't do that for me. I guess that is just another way that the Lord is seeing that I am taken care of by him (and those who serve him) so much better than I ever could have hoped for.

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