One of the earth’s precious metals continues to inspire my life daily. Eight years ago I was living in a restless, irritable, and discontented state of mind. No individual orobject had sentimental value in my life. If I had seen a piece of metal laying in a muddy puddle on the road along the curb, I would have kicked it down the street. Many people cherish objects for value or significance: wives wear sparkling white diamond wedding rings as a symbol of Holy Matrimony; a grandchild may wear a platinum silver bracelet handed down from generation to generation, or a teenager may wear a glittering gold necklace that cost hundreds of dollars. Nowadays, I’m grateful for all that I have and take nothing for granted. Although my treasure was only of nominal value, achieving it came at a very high cost and accepting it meant even more. My priceless prized possession is a medallion symbolizing strength, dedication, and solitude. This April marks the five year anniversary of its ownership. It passively screams, “one day at a time!”
The medallion I possess is a hard rope of shiny silver pewter braided forming the appearance of three rings welded together. A miniature crown of thorn branches woven together. On the front face of the medallion are three words inscribed on each of the three rings: serenity, courage, and wisdom. Serenity symbolizes peace and patience; Courage represents the struggles of my journey, and wisdom is the knowledge to never give up or turn back. The trifecta of these three nouns are signified by the three rings mended together illustrating the circle of life. The back of the circular charm is engraved with the entire Serenity Prayer, again one line of the prayer per ring of the charm. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” The engravings are faded or rubbed off intermittently in certain areas due to firm and constant handling; they are the white arrows that have been worn off the elevator’s control buttons, rising up in spirit. This prayer is an oath to live my life by, as I learned to be grateful and love my own life. Not only is the vow memorized, but I understand its meaning and can recite it whether the letters are legible or not.
This half-dollar sized, doughnut-shaped charm is like a lucky purple rabbit’s foot however not earned by chance or luck; it came with great willpower and perseverance. In late October of 2009, after plummeting to rock bottom, I sought medical and professional treatment for a 12-year drinking and drugging career. By the grace of God, family, friends, and Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been sober ever since. In Alcoholics Anonymous, the Serenity Prayer is a staple for a recovering addict. To this day I find myself praying this prayer to the Lord on a continual basis. It is one of the tools I utilize from my spiritual toolbox. On a difficult day my lucky charm reminds me of the hours consuming stale skunky Labatt’s beer and ice cold shots of smelly black licorice Jägermeister; then, of course, the drama of the aftermath that followed. A mere glimpse of the malleable metal alloy is like a magic Staples “Easy Button” to push erasing my pain and troubles away. This serenity coin has more significance to me than any yearly anniversary token, placing ribbon, finisher medal, or golden trophy. It is a bright orange life preserver on nature’s wildly rough, rapid ride.
This medallion was not always in my possession. It was sold at Benders Parable Christian Store on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville, New York and then purchased by a good friend to whom I had shared common interests with. My friend with over 26 years of sobriety carried this token for two years. Last March, on a sunny winter’s day, clearly annoyed by the stressful pressures of work, my colleague and best friend Jason called me over to his workspace. Jason proceeded to tell me about a tattoo he had received the past weekend. He rolled up his white dress shirt sleeve and on the underneath of his forearm bared an image of the pristine piece of precious pewter. He then reached his right hand into his pants pocket and pulled out the miraculous medallion. He gingerly placed it next to the newly inked tattoo; it was a perfect match. “This medallion has always brought me comfort and solace, now that I have it permanently inked on my arm, I want you to have this in hopes that it will have the same blessing upon you,” Jason said. Needless to say, I was touched and appreciative to receive my new gift; I eased my way around the office showing it off like a kid with his new toy on Christmas day. I was boasting like the General Mills mascot Lucky, the emerald elder, saying “catch me lucky charms, they’re magically delicious.” Whenever Jason is flashing his artwork in my presence, I proudly present the origin of the tattoo’s inspiration. I will always remember that day.
Although Jason and I had been friends for some time, this truly was a special bonding moment. The passing of this small token meant much more than just handing me a piece of metal. Nevertheless, I can recite and live by the Serenity Prayer without my powerful protecting amulet, but the offering was a huge sign of his caring and friendship for me. To me, his gesture meant that in his eyes, I was someone extraordinary, worthy, and deserving of this gift. I now know the accurate meaning of a true friend as well as the meaning of sentimental value; I equally cherish both. To this day I carry the love and brotherhood of our relationship and the hard metal serenity medal close to my heart like a “Medal of Honor.”
My medallion is never more than an arm’s reach away; I keep it in my right pants pocket 24/7. The amulet can easily be misplaced, hidden amongst the quarters, dimes, and nickels, but the scent of it blends right in with that of a handful of loose change. Completely blindfolded by the material of that day’s pants, all my fingers have to do is stretch into the dark pocket and brush across the body heated smooth scripture for me to take a deep breath and be swept back to serenity. Something precious and most valuable that would never be “kicked” aside. It’s like a genie in a bottle.