Last summer, during Randy and David’s Ski Clinic camp, I remember sitting with all the campers and sort of doing a little secret Santa kind of thing. Randy and David had assigned everybody a secret pal to pray for, and everyone made that person some sort of little gift. I had been given Sara Gall, and I was frantic because I had been running between two camps (Ski Clinic and Camp Hope) and had not had the time to make her a gift. I felt really terrible that I had nothing for her, so I decided to give her something that was really special to me. So, I gave her the only anklet I had, the blue anklet that I had been wearing for over a year. Then, I jotted a little note to her that said something to the effect of, ‘Sara, I’ve been wearing this anklet for over a year, and it has a lot of meaning to me, cause generally, I’m just not good with holding on to something for so long without losing it. I want you to have it, and when you see it, you can know that I’ll be praying for you’ – just something really simple like that. Well, Sara opened up the package and smiled huge and started crying. I guess I really made her day.
Of course, about the time that I thought my ankle was going to be bare (cause I doubted anyone else would make me one), Randy gave me my package, because I had been his ‘secret pal,’ I suppose. I opened it up and it was a wonderful note along with an anklet he had made for me that contained several very light colors. Like Sara, I probably could’ve cried. Then, a few weeks later, Sara came back with some of her family, and she came up to me and handed me another anklet, so I gave her a big hug. Of course, the anklet was pink, orange, and white, and I’ll admit, at first, I was a little bit like, ‘Wow, what a girly anklet,’ but then, I realized what it had meant to her, and I think I teared up a little. I absolutely love both of the anklets.
It hasn’t quite been a year, but I have diligently worn them both. They don’t come off when I take a shower. They don’t come off when I sleep. They stay there all the time. These two anklets that are so precious to me have traveled near and far – over the ocean and to nine countries. They have trekked north with me back to Wabash, and since it’s cold and I generally always wear khakis, I don’t really see them unless I’m in the shower or changing. I don’t see them, but I’m wearing them when I’m in class or when I’m sitting here in the wee hours of the morning thinking some ridiculously deep thought about life. You see, I’ll be honest here. I learn so much as a religion major. I learn things about Christianity and about religion and philosophy that I sometimes wish I didn’t know. I sometimes wish I had just remained that kid in Sunday School who just accepted what he heard and moved on with life, but I’ve learned so much about my faith and my beliefs that I sometimes doubt and question and cry. I reach these points where I feel like I have absolutely nothing, where knowledge and my deep thoughts have torn everything away from me, right down to the core of what I believe.
But, through all those deep thoughts and questioning, I still wear those two anklets. They don’t come off. Granted, I don’t always see them, and they’ve worn and become a bit dirty, given how far they’ve gone, but they do not under any circumstances come off. I have to retie them sometimes, and occasionally, on the very slight chance I’m wearing shorts, someone might ask about them. I’ll tell the inquirer about how they came to be, about camp, and about those things that are important to me, and when I do see those anklets or do think about how they came into my possession, I certainly am overcome with awe at how important they are to me; at what they are to me. When I see those anklets, all those big questions and the fact that I just don’t really know much of anything about a lot of things…just sort of fades away. ‘Cause I have what’s important, wrapped around my ankle, and that’s all that matters, and that won’t change.