In the fall of 2001 a few months after Dave was born I attended the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. I love watching the shows and interacting with the actors but always allocate time to browse the stores. The craftmanship of passionate creators who work hard to produce period accurate goods amazes me. At the time I was pretty poor having just started my first real job and now having to care for a family. Just down from Mermaid Cove near the 3 Lions Stage was a little shop that specialized in Celtic glasses, weapons and jewelry.
I browsed through a small stand near the exit and found a cheap necklace with what appeared to be a rudimentary "X" etched into the jagged oval faux rock dangling from a simple black piece of thread. Next to the display was a key that explained what each of the runes meant. This particular one named "Gebo" was described as representing the concepts of "commitment, giving, sacrifice, balance, compensation, equilibrium, law of reciprocation, altruism, generosity, hospitality and honor".
Seizing on the word commitment I reflected on my newborn in the stroller next to me. I knew being a father would take ample amounts of patience, hard work and dedication if I were to do right by him and overcome the wrongs of the previous generation. Furthermore the other concepts represented values I held dear. I made my purchase put it around my neck and there it has remained for going on 20 years. I've lived my life every day with it around my neck going months forgetting it's there until I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror or feel it rub against my skin and I am taken back to that moment. I pause and reflect on the commitments I have made, the decisions that have led me to this place in life and the many experiences I've had now that I've worn it for nearly half my life. I've had three more wonderful children, been divorced, remarried, traveled America and the world, been arrested, been celebrated, hated and (hopefully) loved. Browsing through my pictures I can see it make an appearance quite often.
Looking at it today I can see it has worn down significantly and the ornamental etching around the edges are no longer noticeable leaving only a simple faded "X" in the center. That too is beginning to smooth out and I imagine eventually will not be recognizable at all. It matters for not though, I will continue to wear it and will remain dedicated and committed to the things in my life that I value. I am hopeful that when I pass away my family leaves it around my neck as a symbol of how I tried to live my life and to how I remained committed. Committed to my core principles and to those I love.