As a child, I was surrounded by my father’s fear. Many years ago as I was trying to sort myself out from the ways I had lived and inhabit the way that I am, my companion in this process, a therapist, had given me the gift of an exquisite antique silver bracelet. She had it engraved with the single word clear.

She had know that a silver bracelet was something that I would take seriously. For more than a year I never took it off. A few months after she gave it to me, I asked her why she had it engraved with the word clear and not with my name. “Look it up,” she said, “but only in a very large dictionary.”

I looked it up in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language and found that it had more than sixty meanings, many of which have to do with freedom: free from obstruction; free from guilt; free from blame; free from confusion; free from entanglement; free from limitation; free from debt; free from impurities; free from suspicion; free from illusion; free from doubt; free from uncertainty; free from ambiguity; and so on. And, of course, its ultimate meaning, which is “able to serve perfectly in the passage of light.”

Sometimes it takes a lifetime to become clear. No matter. It may be the most worthwhile way to spend the time.

-- Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings