The Mantel Clock

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When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I bought a mantel clock.
I was still working until a few months before the baby was to be born.
I waited patiently for the mantel clock to be delivered.
It seemed like it took forever to arrive.

I worked at a bank in the town where we bought our first house.
Every year there was a home show nearby.
The bank wanted to be a presence at the home show as well.
They wanted to be nearby when people had questions about home improvement loans.

Thirty-four years ago, there was no GPS systems or tracking information online.
You made a phone call to check on the status of an order.
In fact, if you did not order in person, you placed your order on the phone as well.
My husband called to see when the clock would arrive.

The day that I was to be at the home show was when the mantel clock was to arrive.
It seemed like such a long work day.
I knew that it would be hours before I would get home to see my new mantel clock.
I felt a bit distracted all that day.

We did not have cell phones back in 1983.
I could not make a quick phone call to my husband.
There was no ability to text and see if the clock arrived.
I had to wait what seemed to be an interminably long time until I was able to go home.

I must have looked at my watch every ten minutes or so towards the end of the evening.
People wanted to talk to companies about improving their home.
They did not want to talk to banks about how to finance their improvements.
We were finally able to leave when the evening ended.

I drove home anticipating my first view of the clock on the mantel.
I pulled into the garage.
I came through the door into the family room.
My husband was reading on the sofa.

I looked at him.
He moved his eyes towards the mantel.
There in the center was my new clock.
The clock was made of beautiful cherry wood and had a lovely gold face.

I instinctively touched my belly that was just beginning to show.
I wanted to mark this night.
While I was carrying our first child, my mantel clock arrived.
As my hand was on my belly the clock chimed.

Beautiful Westminster chimes sounded in the room.
It was music to my ears.
The baby moved as if to agree.
My husband got up from the sofa.

He turned the clock around and removed the back panel.
Inside he had a gold plate engraved and attached to the wood.
It simply said, THE GALLAGHERS, 1983.
I loved it; I loved that only he and I knew the gold plate was there.

We were The Gallaghers from October 17, 1981.
We were The Growing Gallaghers now as I held my belly.
The clock would tick and chime the minutes and hours for the remaining five months.
The clock would tick and chime the minutes and hours for four additional pregnancies.

I loved that the gold plate was not the year of our anniversary.
Rather it was the year of my first pregnancy.
It was March, 1984 when our first child, a daughter, was born.
However, I was a mother from the moment she was conceived.

The gold plate seemed to confirm that fact.
The Gallaghers were growing from 1983.
I loved my mantel clock but I loved the hidden gold plate even more.
That clock ticked and chimed milestones, tears, excitement, worry, and celebrations.

The mantel clock has been so faithful through the years.
Until recently.
The mantel clock was not holding its weekly wind for the entire seven days.
Every Monday morning, I wind both my grandfather clock and my mantel clock.

I searched and found an Amish man to do whatever repair needed to be done on my clock.
All it needs is a little oil and a little cleaning, he said.
I left my mantel clock in good hands.
How I missed my clock while it was being maintained.

Countless times throughout the day I would look up on the mantel to check the time.
Countless times throughout the day, the mantel was empty and silent.
When any of my children came home, they would look up, as if by habit, at the mantel.
I miss the clock, Mom, they would say.

So did I.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)

In the beginning, God.
God’s Word tells us of the beginning of time, space, and matter.
God, who has no beginning and no end, has no need for time.
Time was something God created for us, the culmination of all His creation.

When God created man and woman He declared them very good.
Time was created for us.
Time was created to mark the minutes and the hours.
Time was created to mark the seasons and the years.

Time, that we often see as our nemesis, is a gift from God.
Our days are ordained for us before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16)
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
God has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I went to pick up my clock from the Amish man that cleaned and oiled it.
It was not until I got home that I noticed it.
The Amish man put the panel on the back of the clock the opposite way.
The gold plate was visible for everyone to see.

It was the first thing I did.
I took the panel out and turned it around.
THE GALLAGHERS, 1983 is now inside the clock as it had been before.
It is a quiet reminder of the time that has passed and, as God allows, the time yet to come.

My mantel clock ticks.
It chimes every quarter hour.
It marks the minutes and the hours.
It stands faithfully as a watchman on the mantel; a witness to the life lived before it each day.



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