The spinning rack of necklaces swivels under my fingertips, and I gaze at shiny things. Turning, turning.
The two daughters gaze into fluorescent-lit chambers, encasing silver baubles. They whisper, giggle.
I look for a certain cross necklace. I ask the clerk, and she says she doesn’t think they carry that cross anymore.
And I say that’s alright. Because there’s only one cross worth carrying anyway.
The clerk slips past me, to the daughters. I suck in my breath in nervous wonder: what have they rearranged or mishandled while I browsed?
The clerk leans in, and the youngest stands on tiptoes and cups hands around her mouth to whisper a secret. Little girls’ eyes dart at me, and yes of course, I’m eavesdropping.
The clerk unlocks the case, lifts the lid, and the oldest daughter aims a darting finger: That one.
The clerk turns, finds me watching. She mouths exaggerated words across the store: “They. Want. To. Buy. A. Charm. For. You.”
I hold up fingers, rub them together to ask her, How much?
The clerk raises both hands, fingers spread. Ten dollars.
I look over her shoulder. They’re counting the money already, pulling bills and coins from pockets and purses.
I nod my yes, and the knot in the throat rises.
For me. They want to buy it for me. For no reason, other than love.
I watch the clerk take their money, bill by bill, quarter by quarter. Whatever shiny thing she’s holding in her hand — I already know — I don’t really need it.
But my heart won’t let my feet move. Because how do you stop someone who wants to do the one thing that really counts: allowing faith to express itself through love?
I am a spectator to sacrifice; I am awash in the grace of giving.
And who can hold back the tears at such extravagance? Gratitude tumbles down wet, before I even open the gift. They hand me the box. We huddle outside the store’s front doors. The clerks are watching, too.
“Open it now, Mommy,” she coaxes.
I push pink tissue aside, reach in and pull a silver charm with a single word: FAITH.
“I picked it out,” the oldest claims, “because Anna can’t read.”
But the youngest steps closer. “I picked it out, too, Mommy. Because FAITH is a God-Word. And you like the God-Words.”
I slip the charm on the bracelet, and I wear my faith, and I hope that the God-Words in me are the most arresting things I wear all day.
“For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith — and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God …”
— Ephesians 2:8
Father, Thank you for the gift of faith
and the eternal promise it carries.
May I wear it well.