Timeless memories

A watch sitting on top of a table next to some berries.

I was on a Saturday morning mission to check off my list of errands and be back home by noon. My first stop was a well-known shop with experts in repairing all kinds of clocks and watches. Walking through a maze of lovely grandfather clocks, wall clocks, and music boxes, I found the watch repair counter in the back of the shop. Taking my watch out of a zip lock bag, I handed it to one of their watch specialists. It only needed a new battery, so I knew it wouldn’t take long. He went back to his work area and became immersed with all kinds of small tools and several different-sized magnifying glasses.

I was browsing among the antique clocks, when, without looking up from his magnifying glass, he said, “This is a really nice watch.â€

“How can you tell?†I replied to the expert watch maker.

“By the way it’s made inside,†he said, not turning around for further conversation.

The words “This is a really nice watch,†brought a smile to my lips and unexpected tears to my eyes. All of a sudden my mind and emotions embraced those simple words as I remembered when my husband, Bill, gave it to me years ago, long before he died. It was a season in our lives when we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on a really nice watch, or anything else that was beyond our budget.

At that time, all the fashion watches were popular and inexpensive. I had worn a lot of those watches and they didn’t last long. The fad faded and so did the life of the fun watches.

For my birthday that year, Bill gave me a simple, plain looking watch with a small octagonal face, and a chain-link silver band. I wore it for years and continued to wear it for a while after Bill died.

When my adult children gave me a high tech watch that does everything from tell me when to breath, how long I slept, and when to stand up and walk, I retired my old watch to the top of my dresser as a cherished keepsake from Bill. Years have passed and it sits there until the time stands still and I have the battery replaced.

When the watch master brought me my watch, he set the right time, and reached out to place it on my arm. As he clasped the band together, it felt good and comfortable in its place on my arm. It felt right to have it on again. In a melancholy moment, I felt another link of closeness to Bill for the Christmas season.

When I got home, I kept my old watch on, and my new high tech watch now sits on my dresser, eager I’m sure, to remind me of all the things I need to know in life. But for now, and for a while, all I need to know – and remember – is the selfless and sacrificial love my old watch represents. Somehow wearing it soothes the loss of Bill that is always so tough and tender on my emotions during the holidays.

By afternoon I was busy with baking and wrapping gifts as I continued to check off things on my Christmas list. The memory of Bill giving me a really nice watch during a lean season of our lives was tucked back in my heart. It will always be there – along with so many other memories – that have become sweeter and all the more cherished over the years.

Perhaps you have experienced a loss this year, or in years past, and the Christmas season is especially difficult for you too.

You are not alone. I get you. I understand how memories and feelings well up inside and then the emotions you’ve held back begin to spill over through tears and sadness. It can happen with the smallest thing that triggers a time, a place, and a memory of someone that is gone but will never be forgotten.

It’s okay to release your tears and feel your loss. It’s okay to recall memories that make you both happy and sad at the same time. You and I might always feel a little emotional over any holiday, and that’s okay too.

I have learned over the years that God fills my emptiness with His presence and His words of hope soothe my heart. He can do that for you too. Let His arms embrace you with His love. Let His comfort cover you like a warm blanket. Let the healing balm of His peace calm your soul.

Join me this Christmas as I focus on the birth of Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer. His presence is the greatest gift of all.

And the angel said to them, â€œDo not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!†(Luke 2:10-11)

From My Heart to Yours,

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Susan Miller