I am wearing a dove on my wrist.
My parents gave me this dove, on a necklace, when I graduated college. I have now been wearing it for 5 years. Well, not it exactly, because the original one was the charm that my father gave to my mother when he was ordained. That one is in my jewelry box, because I didn’t want to lose it in Kenya, and since I could not find my cross, my parents gave me this new one, just in case something happened while I was in the developing world.
This bit of silver, now worn on my wrist, strung three times around, reminds me of my parents and how they have supported me in my pursuit of ministry. It could be any old charm, but I have a certain penchant for dove imagery, because of the various symbols in which doves are portrayed.
A dove can signify peace and it can call to mind the olive branch from Noah’s Ark, but for me, the symbol to which I connect most deeply, is the symbol of the dove of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus Christ as he came out of the water after being baptized by John. It is the voice of God, saying “My child, I am well pleased.” This dove on my wrist reminds me that I am loved and cherished by my family. Not only loved, but supported in the way that I came to give into the call to ministry.
This dove reminds me to find peace. As I feel it encircling my wrist, I remember to feel the peace of God, the peace of knowing that I am in the place I am supposed to be. As I look at it, fidget with it, feel it gently knocking against my skin, I am reminded that it is not only my parent’s approval which I am seeking, but it is also, and more importantly, God’s approval to which I want to run. I seek to fill the place set out for me, and figure out how to live into the call which I have heard.
As I live in my relationships, as I seek to build them and each day how to learn from those around me, I find that this small reminder of God’s peace helps me live into that plan. I want to learn how to love more deeply, and live more fully into this call, not merely the call to ordained ministry, but even more simply the call to live through each day, learning and growing in my relationships.
I want to go deep. I want to dive into the waters, and then as I rise back out of them, seek to hear the words of God. Even if the rest of the world is silent, I will have made my heavenly father pleased with my obedience. As I live obediently, regardless of whether or not I have heard a human confirmation, I will be living where God wants me to live.
Underneath my triple strand on my wrist, is a pale strip of skin, untouched by the sun this summer. Even if I remove the chain, I will still have the reminder, and the remnants of charm, telling me to live into this promise. It is a promise that is also a task, a task to live into each relationship. Or perhaps a mission, to live in presence with those around me, and seek to make peace with each individual, so that I can share God’s love with them, and also receive the love of God. It is all about Love anyway.