My mother always had one when I was little. In my first memory of it, it was filled with all kinds of bright colored baubles to pin on her blouses and coats. In fact, I don’t remember her or my grandmother ever not wearing a big sparkly pin in the lapel of their heavy winter coats. It must’ve been the style then. But to me, they were just pretty. One of her favorite pins reminded me of a fountain of diamonds, even though it was all rhinestones, of course. It always fascinated me for some reason.
When my father was still alive, her jewelry box was alive with bright colors, sparkling synthetic gemstones which reflected the happy times of her life. Although it was mostly costume jewelry, the vibrant pins and necklaces always looked beautiful on her, and made her whole face smile. She also had a few special necklaces that had been her mother’s, and had already been entrusted with them for safekeeping. I used to go in her jewelry box from time to time and play with the pieces, under close supervision of course, lest the pieces become lost or broken. They may not have had a lot of monetary value, but to her, each piece had a special meaning.
After my father died, and my mom started teaching kindergarten, all of those sparkly pins were gradually replaced with ones little children would like. Christmas trees, angels, and Santa Claus. Enameled birds and butterflies. Funny little kids’ faces, and a treasured collection of “#1 Teacher” pins she’d been given as gifts by her students. She usually wore one of them every day, and her students were always excited to see which one she had on when they got to school, in case she was wearing one they’d given her.
When her granddaughter Ashley came along, suddenly there were a dozen or more #1 grandmother pins, along with the enameled kids’ faces and other jewelry children would especially like.
You could actually see the stages of her life by going through that jewelry box.
But the box itself was quite plain. It wasn’t pretty at all. White simulated leather with faded gold embossing. And a lock that was never locked. (I don’t think she ever had the key.) Over the years pieces of jewelry broke and some of the parts were lost, and other worn out pieces were sadly discarded or given away. Favorite items remained, although sometimes shifted toward the back of the box to make room for newer pieces.
I never knew what special pieces of jewelry I’d find when I opened that box. The older pieces always had a distinctive charm about them, though, and usually a story to tell about who had given it to her, and why, or special events they’d been worn for. And the older the pieces, the more stories they had to tell.
Similarly, we are like precious jewels in the Lord’s very own jewelry box. The jewelry box itself, the earth we live in, may be getting old and a bit frayed around the edges, but within it still lies precious sparkling jewels, each one of us uniquely crafted, and created to fulfill a specific need, and a specific purpose. We were each designed by the Master jeweler who took His time creating each of us as a unique work of art to be treasured forever; each with a wonderful story to tell. A unique work of art which does nothing but become more valuable with age.
Although He created each of us in our own unique style and design, in our own unique colors and shapes, there are times some of us break, or become worn and tarnished. We lose our shine and luster because of the wear and tear we’ve gone through. We sometimes feel we’ve been relegated to the back of the jewelry box because we’re older and we’ve lost our sparkle, and it seems no one wants us anymore.
But like those older and treasured pieces of jewelry that found themselves living in the back of my mother’s jewelry box, we’re pulled out by the Lord’s hand, and placed back in the front of the box. We’re cleaned and polished and shining once again, ready to help make someone else’s life a bit more beautiful with our stories, advice, and encouragement.
And when our purpose here is complete, these earthly jewels will finally join the other majestic jewels in the gates of heaven, forever beautiful, and forever loved and cherished.
And shining like that sparkly rhinestone pin of my grandmother’s…..