Ihave to admit that I was completely surprised at being presented with a gift at the end of our 10 year anniversary liturgy last night. Even when Jaylene Johnson walked up behind where I was standing to make the closing announcement, I just thought “Oh, Jaylene wants to remind people about the November 14 celebration party.” The light began to come on when I saw the gift bag she was carrying, though as she took the microphone and said something about this gift coming from Scotland, all I could think was that Jaylene knows I don’t even like Scotch whisky…
As I said to several people afterwards, the gift of a Scottish-made kilt belt was so very thoughtful, as it is something I would never buy for myself, but do so appreciate having. Shortly before Catherine and I were married in August 1998, my father gave me his dress kilt – complete with a vest and jacket, a sporran made of seal skin and sterling silver, and proper dress socks – which I planned to wear at our wedding. A week or so before the wedding, he gave me the one piece he’d neglected to give me earlier, a wide black leather belt with a large silver buckle. Not realizing I’d left the car door unlocked, I left the belt sitting on the back seat that day, and when I returned I discovered someone had stolen it. I reported it to the police and we even searched through several pawn shops, but to no avail.
Well, I wore my kilt to last year’s saint ben’s “Robbie Burns Night,” and ended up telling the story of my long-lost belt to Jaylene and her husband Scott Urwin – he of serious Scottish pedigree – and that piece of information was carefully tucked away… until last night.
As you can see from the image at the top of this post, the pewter buckle is decorated with a cross woven with celtic knots. I so love the tradition of celtic knot-work, with its symbolic emphasis on eternity and the inter-connectedness of all that God has created. Trust me on this: I’d have chosen no other design.
I’m still quite stunned by the thoughtfulness of this gift, to say nothing of there being a gift at all. We were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the formal establishment of saint benedict’s table, and I saw it as very much a community event, marking something a whole lot of us have worked collaboratively to bring into being and to shape and nurture along the way.
To those of you who conspired to come up with this gift, I can only offer my thanks. You’re all part of what makes saint ben’s what it has become.
And no, I won’t leave the belt in the back seat of my unlocked car…