I also had warm memories of this particular cross – I think it was a confirmation gift from one of my grandmothers – and yet I was uncomfortable wearing a cross out in public. For starters, I lived in Seattle, where I had previously been comfortable in the land of “spiritual but not religious.” Moreover, I didn’t want other people to make up a story about me – judge me, I guess – based on my jewelry.
I had embraced the teachings of Jesus that we are all beloved children of God and that right behind “loving God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength,” the second most important commandment is to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” So after much thought and prayer, I realized that I needed another symbol to slide onto the chain to complete the message I wanted to communicate — a peace sign.
I’d been wearing this peace sign/cross combination for quite awhile when I visited Bethlehem four years ago. Standing alongside the dividing wall in Bethlehem, reading the outcries of people around the world to bring peace to this land, I understood, at a deeper level, all that my favorite necklace means.