The sun had just begun to set. Shadows had cast long silhouettes and I stood speechless at the gravestone.
We had walked the grounds of Christ Church and the cemetery oaks were dripping with Spanish moss.
The gravestone at my feet took my breath away.
The words carved there were meant for all of us.
Today BELOVED became a line of jewelry which started out as blue jeans. Hands here in the U.S. and hands in Haiti took tattered denim and hammered letters onto metal and made beautiful things.
I’m a bit speechless about it all.
I want you to know why jewelry made from worn jeans means so very much to me.
I want you to know why wearing the name “Beloved” around your neck and on your wrist is so important.
So listen to a bit of my story?
This photo below, entitled “The Prom Dress” by Norman Rockwell from 1956 was among the pages of a diary that was given to me by my mother when I was ten. I wrote in it every night. I kept that diary locked up tight and I kept the image of that girl in my heart. I understood her.
She was wearing tattered blue jeans. But that’s not what appeared in the mirror.
This image stayed with me. After three decades of staring at this print I found words for it. I wrote them down. They were the first post I ever shared on this blog. I have read these words at retreats and I have published them a few times. But the poem I wrote was mostly a letter to myself.
(Beloved) Blue Jean Girl
I showed up in blue jeans and knees a mess.
No veil to wear, no pearled white dress.
I knelt before you, so ashamed. My gift to you~ my sins I named.
“There are so many” I began…. and fumbled with my list in hand.
I looked down at my faded clothes And felt unsure as I arose….
“My list is very long you see. Not sure where to start, be patient with me….”For times I stumbled, to chances lost-I’m ready to pay, just name the cost.
I have wandered so far from you. Not intended, but still it’s true. So here I am, a tattered mess.
With a ponytail and sins to confess.
He took my list, but didn’t look. “My child I know, we could write a book…
But take this mirror, and tell me dear:”What tattered mess do you see here?”
And then I saw her, Just a glint~ a white-clad beauty, just a hint. I had never seen the beauty there….
the pearl white dress and perfect hair.
“This is how I see you love~ not there below, but up above.
You have gifts unseen by them. I placed each pearl and stitched each hem.
You are so beautifully made~ let memories of those blue jeans fade.
I don’t see you in them at all since you took my hand and followed my call.
So drink a toast and dance with me. And you will never, ever be that girl in blue jeans that others see.”
I re-discovered something when I wrote that poem.
I had tucked away and forgotten my name.
Amy means BELOVED. It is the literal definition. It took me awhile to claim it.
He called me BE loved. Accept love. Be seen.
Blue jeans and all.
I’m wondering if anyone else has trouble with grace?
Maybe it’s just me in my blue jeans.
I stood in Simonette, Haiti in June and watched a woman hammer the word “Beloved” into metal. I couldn’t find words for that kind of redemption.
Maybe I still don’t on this day that these pieces find a place in the world.
Maybe a necklace named for my mother that contains so much grace is too much for me to find words for.
Maybe “Beloved” today is just like that Norman Rockwell print when I was ten.
Maybe I’ll study all of it awhile and words will come to me in three decades.
I will just leave these images here. And I would ask that even if you don’t buy any of the jewelry that you claim the name”Beloved”.
Each piece has a name and a meaning to me. A little piece of promise. A memory.
I am praying for you. And for us.
That we might know that we are BELOVED.