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Keeper of the Amethyst
Mary Annthipie Bane
A delicate white gold basket setting proudly uplifts the emerald cut amethyst. It’s tiny prongs holding the beautiful gem ever steady. The cool purple stone never revealed to those who gaze upon it the secrets and dreams of a lifetime. This is my mother's, mother’s ring.
Forever kept hidden away in an antique jewelry box, this treasured possession was intended to be quietly enjoyed. It was on rainy days that mom and I would look through the old jewelry box. Its mahogany lid and velvet lining lie in wait to reveal its contents to admiring eyes. The box in and of itself was a thing of beauty with remembrances of generations reflecting in its mother of pearl framed mirror. Gazing upon oneself in the mirror was to imagine the women who had gone before us as a testimony, looking back approvingly upon their descendants. As their eyes once admired these family heirlooms now in turn I look upon them in like manner and marvel.
It was on rainy days when reminiscing seems most natural. Lingering over each item to admire and appreciate, as if to memorize its essence. The now vintage pieces of our past intermingling with the present as each shadow of a memory flowed into the room and into our hearts.
How often we would pour over the jewelry in that box. Mom would share each piece with delight and melancholy, recalling each story in detail, each hand and delicate finger that had donned those family artifacts. She would save as always her mother’s amethyst for last. It seemed to be that the ring was light to the touch when slipped over a finger yet laden with the weight of many memories. Looking into that antique ring I can see my family’s history, the matriarchs who had gone before in strength, grace, beauty and faith.
My mother grew up as a child of the Great Depression. The stories of determination and faith are part of the background of my childhood as mom shared lessons from these times. It was then that comfort was taken in this object in which they held most dear. The ring was kept in a box of Grandmothers only valuables. It sat alongside pearl earrings, an opal pendant, a gold band and her most treasured belongings; her five children’s birth certificates. These things were kept locked safely away.
To Grandmother the birth certificates were highly valued and therefore kept with her treasured earthly goods. During this time of great want they were reminders of happier times and of times to come. As the adornments were her inheritance from a bygone era so too were her children a heritage from God. They were a gift like no other, a promise and a hope for the future. How often my mother would tell me of the temptation to sell the ring and to put the children up for adoption as it became increasingly difficult to get by. It was with faith that Grandmother believed in the saving power of Jesus Christ, through whom she could do all things. Together the family would pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. The ring and the birth certificates would remain; my mother learning the ways of the Lord by her side.
The ring was held as a trust for future generations. Together with the birth certificates these items held her solemn oath and steadfast faith that the family would remain united and find strength in each other and in their Heavenly Father. The loving God who provided for them would sustain them. My mother herself as my grandmother before her represents a figure of grace and beauty, much like her favorite ring. She is a symbol of strength and endurance during times of enormous hardship and heartaches. It was to these women whom their children sought after for guidance and security. I admire these ladies but as for Grandmother I was never privileged to know her in this lifetime. Along with my mother I hope to honor her and to emulate her faith.
Mom and Grandmother, their ring and their joy of motherhood are timeless, classic things of beauty. They are women who are worth far more than rubies, whose blood is in my life force and whose spirit resonates within. Generations shall pass but these women who now walk the streets of gold will not be forgotten.
I am now the keeper of the amethyst and will someday pass on to my children and grandchildren the legacy of my mother’s family. I will share with them the joys, sorrows and dreams that this ring represents, has been witness to and will continue to be a symbol of. Where your heart lies so will your treasure be found, in family and in God alone.
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