What We Hold – Part One

by Melissa Taft
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by Laurie Klein

Looking at or holding an object, real or imagined,
may enhance your ability to focus. —Christine Sine

Reading those words, my curiosity revs. In her book The Gift of Wonder, Sine recommends pausing to mindfully handle a smooth stone, a seashell, or a pocket cross. She advises quiet attention—even affection. She enjoys running her mother’s opal necklace through her hands. 

Long ago, my mother bequeathed me her vintage perfume bottle collection. I choose the iconic bottle that once held Evening in Paris. About the size of a silver dollar, the cobalt glass is fetchingly capped in black, its tiny throat wreathed with a black-and-gold tassel. 

I stroke the deep blue contours and find it calming. A connection to Mom. And to memories, for which I give thanks. 

Over succeeding days, spontaneous comparisons arise and become prayers.

Your love encloses us. Blessed be your name.

Your life lavishes our lives with the fragrance of Christ. Thank you.

Your light passes through us to others. May it ever be so.

In the little bowl of my palm, the glass warms to my touch. Each smoothing gesture ushers me toward increasing tranquility. And no wonder. Gentle, repetitive bodily movement impacts our hormonal responses to stress. 

I give it the acid test. When feeling frazzled over vitriolic headlines (or looming deadlines), I press the vial against the life line that creases my palm. I ponder my mother breaking the seal, dabbing scent at her pulse points. 

I picture the woman breaking the seal on her heirloom alabaster jar (Mark 14:3, among others). 

Life lines from the Word come to mind. 

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His’” (2 Timothy 2:19). 

Our calling, too, through no effort of our own, is sealed for God’s purposes. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

I miss my mother and tears brim . . . 

“[O Lord,] You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle” (Psalm 56:8).

Mom’s keepsake has one other feature: an incised pentagon, a miniature house. It reminds me of my loved ones in heaven. Brushing my thumb across the roof and walls, I imagine their delight within God’s incomparable household. I daydream about the place being prepared for me.

But there’s a challenge as well.

I am also invited to embrace change via God’s refinement process, like wine being “poured from vessel to vessel” lest it settle on its lees (Jer. 48:11). Historically, that process ensured the wine’s flavor, bouquet, and integrity.

When I was little, Mom displayed her perfumes and colognes on a mirrored tray. Wanting to surprise her one year, I edged into her room with an empty jelly jar. Then, probably holding my breath lest I spill something, I tipped precious drops from each vessel into my jar. Think Eau de Everything.

She could have blown, scolded me up one side and down the other. Those fragrances were costly, and her anger would have been justified. 

Instead she touched my hand. “What a perfect gift! No one in the whole world will ever have perfume like mine.” Then she dabbed it on both our wrists with a smile I still remember.

My mother’s acceptance and delight in that pivotal moment—so reflective of God’s love for us all, in every moment—continue to grace the little bowl of my palm.


Is there a smooth object of glass, ceramic, or metal that pleases your senses and personal history? Perhaps natural elements appeal more to you: a glossy chestnut, a striped river stone, the gem in a legacy brooch. 

In my next post, I’ll share another dimension of meditatively using a valued object. I hope you’ll join me.


GoWBookAd Find your Wonder renewed…

As mentioned above, Christine Sine’s book The Gift of Wonder is a welcome respite in our harried world. Journey along with Christine as she guides you through creative practices to recapture your delight in God. Learn more here, or click here to purchase a book from our shop!

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