Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So, yesterday this thing happened ...

Here’s what I’m thinking …

I had surgery on my knee yesterday, but that’s not really what I want to say. It’s related, but the surgery, the recovery; all of that isn’t on my mind right now. It’s going to sound silly and maybe even non-sensical, but here’s the deal.

I wear a braided multi-colored wristband and a green F.R.O.G. band on my left wrist. Not something I talk a lot about, but it’s important to me nonetheless. I’ve worn the braided one for about 5 years, the green one for a few months. In the time that I’ve had them I’ve never taken them off. In fact, the braided one was sewed on and then super-glued so that it wouldn’t come off.

The green one was given to me by a family at my church whose son is struggling with some serious health stuff. I fell in love with this little guy and wear the band to remind me to pray for him. The braided one was a reminder to pray for a young lady in my previous church who was also struggling – very different but very serious stuff. I promised myself I’d wear them both and pray for them both until I knew I could “stop.” The girl’s doing great and has become an awesome Christian woman. The boy is doing well, but still going through treatments and doctors diagnoses. In both cases I don’t feel like I’ve been “released” to stop praying or to take the two reminders off my wrist.

Yesterday, before surgery they told me that I had to take them off or they would cut them off. It never occurred to me that they’d have to come off, but rationally it makes sense. (I’d already followed their directions and taken my wedding ring off and my earring out, which I wasn’t happy about!) I could take the one wristband off, but the other one had to be cut off. You wouldn’t think that would be a big deal, but to me it was. I’ve always felt that symbols have significant meaning. The two bands on my wrist are just one example of a bunch of ways that I’ve tried to mark moments or lift up personal commitments by finding symbols or “markers.” They become ways to remind me to keep commitments, encourage myself, or honor important moments.

Once both were off my wrist yesterday, I started to get a little agitated. Both bracelets-gone. Wedding ring-gone. Earring-gone. I know, I know. Sounds stupid. But all of these things have much more significance to me than jewelry or “decoration.” They mean something far deeper and they have an important spiritual quality to them. Being upset about taking these things off combined with the wait until surgery and I actually needed medication to calm me down. My wife thought I was crazy – maybe she’s right.

There are moments that are worth remembering; significant events that need to be marked and honored. That’s what my wedding ring is. That’s what my earring has become. And in a different, but also important way, that’s what these two wristbands represent to me.

My wedding ring was back on my finger as soon as I was home. The green band is back on my wrist. The other I’m going to try to put on and sew back together tomorrow. You could say they’re just jewelry, just reminders, just things – but you’d be wrong!

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