This picture is of the left end of my fireplace mantel. See the clock? You can tell the pendulum is moving. There’s a story to it.
The clock belonged to MSB’s father. He passed away five years ago, more of just plain old age than anything. In fact, the way we’d found out he was even close to being sick was because he’d had a hard time swinging his partner at a community dance. He was in his early 80s. It was scary for awhile; he’d suffered from a ministroke, and the doctors had to “roto-root” his one of his arteries. They also had to put several stints in to keep his heart nourished.
He didn’t mind moving from his house into the nursing home, where they had a 42 game going every day. The man loved his dominoes, and he was a social animal, so he enjoyed communal living. Eventually he became weaker and at 87, he passed on.
As always happens, the family went in and divided out years worth of property, saved treasures, discarded curious things they wondered why he’d kept. This mantel clock was one of the things we brought home from the old house. The glass was virtually opaque with dust and age, the wood grimy, the inner workings didn’t work. It’s not an antique. All it needed was a good cleaning and a new battery–which I gladly supplied. It keeps great time.
But I never could get the pendulum to swing like it was supposed to. Five years, and the pendulum didn’t swing.
Until I got diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
Can you imagine what that does to a writer’s mind?
Sometime soon after the diagnosis, MSB mentioned that it was swinging. I’d just dusted the mantel the Monday before and it hadn’t been swinging then. Now it’s rocking back and forth with a speed that seems too fast, too urgent, like some morbid reminder that time is running out. I find myself checking it sometimes to make sure it’s still swinging, as if I’m almost afraid for it to stop. It will, of course. The battery will die, and the pendulum will take its last trek from left to right, and I imagine, when I see it eerily motionless, I’ll place a hand over my heart to assure myself it’s beating.
All this is ludicrous, I know. The surgeon got the cancer out, the margins are clean, and my future looks bright. Only God knows how much time I have left, so I shouldn’t allow an inanimate object to serve as a premonition, to interpret its movement–or lack thereof–as an omen. And when I’m out of writer mode, I don’t. It’s just a clock that needs to be dusted on a regular basis.
But when I wear my author’s cap, I watch the pendulum swing and wonder how the story will end.
Interesting coincidence. A coincidence with reminded me of the song “My Grandfather’s Clock” which according to WiKiPedia
The song was inspired by the George Hotel, a wayfarers’ inn in Piercebridge on the border of Yorkshire and County Durham. The hotel was owned and operated by two brothers called Jenkins, and in the lobby was an upright longcase clock. The clock kept perfect time until one of the brothers died, after which it lost time at an increasing rate, despite the best efforts of the hotel staff and local clockmakers to repair it. When the other brother died, the clock stopped, never to go again. It is said that in 1875 Henry Clay Work visited the hotel and based “My Grandfather’s Clock” on the stories he heard there.
But in this case your mantel clock started to tell time again once you cleaned it out and had placed a new battery in it. However, as you stated the pendulum would not move and you couldn’t tell why.
Perhaps there is a symbiotic relationship between the clock and you, a symbiotic relationship in which the movement of the pendulum again and the discovery/cleaning out of your cancer are connected.
Perhaps, [and here come’s up writer’s mind into play] there’s a message to start living again, for time is fleeting, a message which might be coming from MSB’s father.
So in the end, I have to agree, your interpretation of the events you’ve just written about is quite correct.
HAVE A GREAT DAY.
Robin Leigh Morgan
Thank you for writing, Robin. That was fascinating. I’m not familiar with the story, but I bet it’s a good one. Your interpretation of my clock’s activity suits me fine. You certainly understand what it does to a writer’s mind!
THANKS for your compliment Linda. When I read this I was in the “right frame of mind” to interprete it.
This was good for me to read as I discovered this week that my dear friend who is 36 yo and has 7 kid,s was diagnosed with liver cancer. Her pendulum is still swinging, but we don’t know what her Maker has planned for her. 31 tumors in her liver and the prognosis is not good. Her surgeon, who is not a believer, told her that it will take an act of God to cure her. Her response?
“My God is bigger than all this. He may choose to heal me, He may choose to take me home, but I trust Him with the path He has for me.”
Puts life into perspective for me between your story and hers. Sniff! I want to make sure and enjoy every swing of that pendulum by loving, serving, living, laughing, crying, and above all else, praising.
Love you Sweet Linda!!
Wow, Kat–what a precious spirit your friend has! I pray a complete healing for her so God will be glorified in front of the surgeon and his staff.
Beautifully written, Linda. Shortness of time has been on my heart lately, too, especially as it relates to writing. It’s hard not to read too much into things like that but it’s always a good thing to be reminded that our time here is precious. Don’t waste it. Thanks for this post.
Good point, Carol. Thanks for the comment!
How weird! “My Grandfather’s Clock” was the first thing I thought of as well.
I wasn’t familiar with the story. I’ll have to look it up!
As the old saying goes : “Great Minds Think Alike” 😀
My daddy was a clocksmith. I’m a clocksmith. My son is also a clocksmith. And I think I’ll just leave this one alone . . . :-). Gotta be God, because the pendulum sure didn’t start itself.
At least next time I have trouble with it, I’ll know who to turn to! 🙂
I agree with the others that it is a good omen it started swinging again. I tend to believe it is not swinging fast because time is running out, but swinging in joy to the good news that you will be upon this earth for a time yet. It is rejoicing in the second chance at life. Each and every time you see it swinging, think of the exuberance you felt in receiving God’s miraculous gift of life. If it should stop, think of it as being a time to return to regular pursuits, normal routine without the shadow of cancer in the background. We don’t have a cruel God, and He would never send such an instrument to torture you. I do firmly believe the clock is rejoicing. By the way I loved the story of the clock. I was not familiar with it either. Blessings to you, Linda.
I like your interpretation!