by Murray Dunlap
Upon marrying my wife, an Episcopal priest, I felt that I was somehow obligated to wear a cross. And I wanted to. I had come back to my faith after a hardship I cannot accurately describe. Let me simply say that I have a traumatic brain injury, and those first few years were terrifying. But after choosing to spend all of my time with my wife, I learned that my accident was not some sort of cruel trick played by God, but rather, it was God who stayed with me through the worst of it, even when my friends walked away. So, having finally wrapped my brain around the impossible goodness of our Lord, I decided I owed it to Him to wear a cross.
Simple, right? I had thought so. But, on trying necklaces, the material seemed not to matter; I developed a rash on my chest. So, I was given a ring by my dear mother-in-law. But I was not able to get used to wearing it and developed a habit of using my thumb to keep the ring turning around and around. I finally gave up on these and made myself a bracelet. Again, simple… If I had only known.
I made several bracelets with a cross attached that did one or more of the following things on this dreadful list:
- They clicked, clinked, or made any disagreeable noise.
- They were too tight.
- Too loose.
- They were not strong enough and broke off.
- The cross was too big.
- Too small.
- Too heavy.
- Too many sharp corners.
- The cross would get caught in a strange way and not dangle.
- The base of the cross would inadvertently poke me.
There are many more, but you get the idea. I decided to take this project on and would ‘work’ for my faith. I was working to show my belief in Christ. That He died on a cross for us. So, I could stick with it.
At long last. I ordered a small silver cross that I put on between beads with superglue and made the bracelet from black ear-bud wire. It was tight enough that it was not able to slide down my forearm, but loose enough that it did not make a red ring around my wrist. But after all of that mess, it broke off, just the same. So back to the drawing board.
I decided I could out-think the problem. I researched small necklaces that were designed for children, and thus, were hypo-allergenic. And now that the project is finished, the problem solved, I am able to remember why I am wearing the cross in the first place. I have a reminder of my faith in Jesus that I can quickly access any time I fall (brain injury), or otherwise feel in need.
Murray Dunlap is a writer living in North Carolina, who is married to an Episcopal priest.