When I was young, one of my favorite activities was sorting through my mother’s jewelry box. In my family, jewelry was not proper for young girls. It had more of a coming of age significance. Though I received jewelry as gifts such as a charm bracelet and pearls on a chain, I seldom worn them for fear of losing or breaking them. Yes, we played dress-up with costume jewelry which was big and gaudy sometimes plastic, but real jewelry was something special.
When given the opportunity, I spent hours romanticizing the treasures inside my mother’s jewelry box. This white box lived stashed away in the privacy of my parents’ bedroom. It was an upholstered box that kept safe the gems, jewels, stones and rocks set in rings, bracelets and necklaces then placed gently inside this box.
Much of the jewelry was never seen outside the box. I loved the neatness of this very specific specialized container. On the inside of the lid, there was a giant pincushion that held hatpins and straight pins for decoration on a lapel. The first level of the box had rolls of white velvet snugged together that held rings standing upright like soldiers. This area was not too deep, so that earring sets were also easily accessible. Underneath this top tray was a drawer with tiny partitions that held individual coiled gold chains with pendants. They stayed nice and neat in their spiral patterns. No tangles emerged in this safekeeping.
Pushed in the back of the box. I found a tiny prayer book with picture cards and a rosary. I did not grow up in church. I only visited a few churches with relatives. I remember the confusion I felt in this discovery. These items were kept sacred in this marvelous safe place, yet anytime church was discussed it did not bring out the best in my parents especially when company was around. I never asked for an explanation and one was never given. My lack of understanding stood the test of time. My questions were never asked therefore they were never answered.
Time passed and life moved on. I became the keeper of my parents’ possession upon their deaths. The jewelry box though a hinge had broken and dust had turned to grime was still intact with the treasures safe inside. I shared the jewelry among loved ones. I kept that which was secret and sacred for Mom as a part of her legacy to help balance the commonly remembered stories of her life.
We all have within us a core wonderfully created and protected. Our silence over that which we treasure hold tightly to unspoken burdens that could transform our legacy. Legacy is cultivated and grown. Inheritance is given or taken. The jewelry box kept safe the items of inheritance because the richness and meaning died with Mom. The jewelry box also held onto small bites of legacy in the prayer box, picture cards and rosary because unlike Mom, here I tell my story.
We all keep and hold onto items which we place meaning or interest or significance. Unfortunately untold stories can be like thieves to loved ones who seek understanding in their quest for meaning. Meaning of our lives is universal. Where it comes from varies. Items can be made to be symbols, but without interpretation, items render meaninglessness.
Let us never forget that which is silenced could have far-reaching significance, healing purposes, and transforming powers if the silence is broken and the stories told. Ancestry carries with it many unsolved questions and buried elements that burden our souls. Stories are the pathways for unanswered questions to be answered. Let us seek the way of forgiveness which too is timeless.
Forgiveness begins with telling our stories in a way that all of the parts are told—the good, and the bad. Forgiveness is about acceptance and not about hurtful repetition. Forgiveness exemplifies strength, takes courage and it is not about weakness. Forgiveness allows for a deeper receipt of what happened including truthful nuances in order for us to open up to our greater self by knowing with a richer understanding of those who came before us. Forgiveness is a chance to allow us to become free of the harmful underlying transgressions without minimizing or granting them permission to hurt us again. Forgiveness is permitting the past to stay attached to the person or group of people who did whatever was done while letting us to open up and continue to live a fuller life.
Please know forgiveness is not simple, easy, uncomplicated or done without diligence. Forgiveness holds treasures of that which are transparent and unseen. Unlike the jewelry box of old that held sacred items with stories untold, forgiveness provides opportunities of deeper meaning through told stories that can open pathways to the future waiting to come to life.