this quarter's collab for Shadows and Light: talisman.
The Open Heart
i have several talismans, ones that connect me to other people or places. the one i wear the most is my cross. it's a family piece, about 100 years old, that was given to me when i was confirmed. i want to tell you who had it first, show you pictures of my relatives wearing it years and years ago, but i don't know any of those stories.
it's got a comforting heft to it, a nice solid feel. when i put it back on after showering, the cool touch of metal always suprises me. mostly, it holds the heat of my body, soaking it up and giving it back.
i used to wear my cross on holidays or special occasions. it made me self conscious other times. it's fairly large, and ornate. it's a cross that wants to be seen.
then i'd wear it when i needed solace or support. but i'd always leave it tucked inside my shirt, because i thought that it might seem a little much to other people. i had the idea that someone i knew, or even didn't know, might be offended. we're not supposed to be forthright about our beliefs. no, not my WASPy little self. and truth be told, i wasn't even all that comfortable with my spirituality. here i was, turning to my god or goddess only when i needed something. i couldn't even tell you what force it was i believed in. and yet, the weight and warmth of my cross nestled against my collar bone brought me comfort.
the general sort of things came and went. some times were rough, others abysmal, and still others heartbreakingly happy. the cross came and went, as most fashions do.
i was wearing my cross around my 31st birthday. the divorce was going badly, and i was feeling untethered in the way that sometimes happens when too many things in your life change at once. it's that helium-queasy sort of churn in your stomach, and the need to look down to see if your feet really are carrying you forward on solid earth. that day, on my birthday, my apartment was robbed. i lost many things that were touchstones, gateways to other people in my life, now or past. but my cross stayed with me. for that piece of dumb luck or fate, i am grateful.
i wear my cross nearly every day now. it's started to become part of who i am. if it's on display, that doesn't bother me anymore. when i'm nervous, i'll cradle it in my hand, zip it back and forth along the chain, or play with the setting around the pearl, which has always been a little loose. and lately, i've been coming around to face my spirituality. it's okay that i don't agree with everything in the church. there's a comfort to be found in voicing familiar words. my heart and my mind are a little more open each time i hear or read something. and somehow, i've been gifted with words that speak to what i'm grappling with at the time. easing back into my spiritual life, i find water and light that feed my heart, my heart that has been hungrier than i realized.
and my talisman reminds me. ask the questions before you miss the chance. talk to gram and ask her why she gave you the cross, who had it before her, go thru the pictures and talk. be open to the gift of conversation. question and explore what you've accepted and believed. wonder, investigate, and accept. accept that there are many ways to believe, and the ones you need will find you. my talisman reminds me each day.