Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ninety-five percent half naked

I have worn a St. Christopher medal most every day since I was fourteen. This is not something most people know about me. That's well into five figures of days, placing the chain around my neck when I dress in the morning, laying it down carefully before I climb into bed at night. I have long since grown accustomed to the feel of it, and in most cases I could not tell you without checking whether I was wearing it or not.

The current medal is actually my third, each a gift from a (different) woman who meant a great deal to me. The first barely outlasted the relationship that started it all, lost after only a couple of years. The second survived much longer, through my days on the road and other youthful misadventures. Unfortunately, the ex never really liked the fact that it was a gift from someone else, and it disappeared during the turmoil of our divorce.

The second medal was similar to this one. I always liked the Be my guide
inscription over than the more common Protect us. It seems less needy, somehow.

She needn't have been concerned. While the medals were important symbolic gifts, they were never strong reminders of the givers. They were my secret indulgence in superstition,  egotism,  ... different things at different times. But this little piece of jewelry (I really think of them as one object) has always felt like mine -- perhaps more than anything else I own -- and I associate it with my personal journey much more strongly than its own origins. I have worn the current version for over twenty years now.

It never mattered to me that St. Christopher was removed from the official roster of saints when I was a child. Actually, since I am not Catholic, it was a bit of a bonus. What was important was that we shared a name, and that he was the patron saint of travelers. As a fledging disciple of an eclectic mix of Eastern philosophies, I initially found the symbolism quite compelling. I no longer read the Tao regularly or consult the I Ching, but I still see life more as journey than destination, so the feeling of kinship with St. Kitt remains strong.

Yesterday morning I reached for the silver chain in its pewter tray, exactly as I have done thousands of times before, and came up empty. The medal and its chain have vanished, and a light search of probable locations has come up empty. I can't definitively remember the last time I noticed having it. You may as well ask when I last remember having my left pinky. All I know for sure is that I don't have it now, and I am beginning to feel its absence.

There may be feline involvement. I felt confident that the cats would not be interested in it, but I began to rethink my position when I saw one carrying a pill organizer down the hall this morning. If so, then it may turn up again, though both cats love to watch things disappear, and there are some suitable crevices and drain holes in our house.

While often proud of his possessions, Boy Cat was trying to sneak away with this undetected. Don't worry.
He doesn't have a drug problem. We use these to portion out fish food for vacation pet minders. The cats love fish food.

More likely the clasp gave way and it slipped from my neck in some random location on campus or in the yard. It has happened before, and while up until now I have always felt it fall, I assumed the day would come when I would not be so lucky. If this is the case, and I have seen the last of this iteration, I hope it has fallen where someone will find it. Like the two before this one, I like to think of St. Christopher helping someone else navigate life's strong currents.


  1. Either this one or another will most certainly have to be found, even if the finding takes some currency.
    Some of us need things in our life to make us feel grounded - for me it is non specific - lots of things in my home. If somehow all of that were lost, I would feel lost as well.

  2. patron saint of travelers. i sort of like that one... whether lost, or misplaced by the critters, you will clearly need another. it occurs to me that i have no talisman. i wear a celtic toe ring in the summer, and other than my $5 breakaway hoop earrings (fifth iteration, i think, in the past 20 years), that is the only jewelery i wear.

  3. If you are meant to have it -- say aloud that you know it is meant to return to you a few times. I have had jewelry that meant a lot to me 'returned' this way -- twice, months after I have thought it gone forever.......if, like you say, it is lost on campus somewhere, it's probable it will be found by someone eventually.......I always associated this medal with you and it always seemed fitting that you wore it...i am glad to learn you still like to wear it to this day.......

    Pill box -- that is hilarious...sounds pretty 'fishy' to me.....adults are usually in denial about their 'kids' ...