I had just finished reading, “The Orphan Master’s Son” on my last flight home. It was such a good book; the kind where you can easily and completely rudely ignore the person you are traveling with just so you can continue reading, as well as risk nausea as the plane lands and takes off because you can’t bear to put the book down. But it was a such a disturbing book as there was much torture in it taking place in North Korea. The book was on the same level as “Unbroken,” and the accounts of the Japanese POW torturing of Leo Zaperini. I couldn’t shake “The Orphan Master’s Son,” even after I finished it. I found myself driving and walking and thinking about the sorrow of to what extent our species can hurt one another. It made me very sad to think about the human condition and how helpless we can sometimes feel. And then I looked down at my wrist, where I saw a new bracelet from my friend Tim, and warmth and love and hope flooded back into me.
My friend, Tim Brick, came into my life only a few years ago and when I think how many times I have actually even been in his company, it has remarkably been only three. When I returned to Traverse City to write for the magazine. Yet he has made a huge impact. This bike shop owner initially helped me and my family by lending us bicycles to cycle the Leland Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan, when on assignment for Adventure Cyclist Magazine. While there, I learned of his background and history and how he helps so many mentally and physically handicapped folks get onto bikes. I went on to write a feature story about his generosity for Traverse Magazine.
Tim and I have become very good friends, as I have returned to TC to write multiple stories. While visiting, Tim shared stories about his wonderful mother, Mary Jane, who began adult homes for mentally handicapped folks in TC and taught him to have a huge heart. Right before she passed, she got the brilliant idea to melt down some of her jewelry and have a jeweler make six crosses for her six children as a gift. Besides being a part of her, she would leave them with an important message. She loved a poem called, “The Dash,” about the part of your life between your birth date and your death date. What were you going to do with this time that was- the dash? Make it good. I noticed Tim’s cross with the dash on it, as soon as I met him.
I wear nearly two dozen silver bracelets on my wrist- 20 of them are presents from friends. cindyrosstraveler.com/2012/08/25/silver–bracelets/
So Tim got the idea to melt down his old silver and gold jewelry and take it to the same jeweler. He shared my stories of Michigan with the jeweler so he could see how much I love the area and the people and told him to have fun with it.
The result is a beautiful bracelet that he gifted to me for my 60th birthday. It has a disc of gold cherries, as Traverse City is the cherry capital of the world; two other charms spell out “Love” and “Michigan” in the shape of the Upper Peninsula and the main part of the state. There is a Petrosky stone- a fossil- found only in this area-, and a gold “Brick Wheels” symbol, Tim’s store’s logo.
It is most difficult for me to look down at this bracelet on my wrist at any given moment and not feel my friend’s love and support. There are times when all of us feel fatigued in our work and mission, feel doubt and feel challenged. Tim makes me want to be a better human being. He does that for me, just by being in my life and being my friend. His beautiful bracelet, however, is a constant reminder, to keep working to make my life, “The Dash” the best possible- and reminds me that I am loved. With that, we can do anything.