Monday Memo: Turtle Doves

Terry Walton


‘Two Turtle Doves’

I Was Thinking…

Merry Christmas, day two!  This is ‘turtle doves’ day.  Yesterday was a “partridge in a pear tree” first day of Christmas!  Some say that this ‘partridge’ is symbolic of the Christ-child.  I do hope your Christmas day was a day of celebration of the birth of a baby that was, is, and always will be the savior of the world…Emmanuel-God with us!

In the beloved Christmas movie ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’.  Mr. Duncan, of Duncan’s Toy Store, explains to Kevin, who is once again alone, yet this time wandering the streets of New York, the meaning of ‘two turtle doves’.  “When you give one away to someone else, it means you and that person will be friends forever.”  The movie comes to a beautiful conclusion as Kevin gives one of his two turtle doves to the ‘Pigeon Lady’ as if to say, “Thank you for who you have been to me while I was alone, now we’ll be friends forever!”

‘Friend’ is an interesting term these days.  We can ‘friend’ someone on social media.  We can also ‘unfriend’ someone on social media.  A Religious Society of ‘Friends’ is known as Quakers.  However, I venture to guess, that the most often intended meaning of friend is “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” (Oxford Languages) My definition is simply this ‘a friend is someone who knows a lot, if not all, about us and yet still likes and loves us and we do the same for them’.

Even with close friends, we can still know what it is to ‘be alone’.  ‘Alone’ with our thoughts; our sins; our insecurities, our desires, our unsaid ambitions, or even life circumstances that are beyond description to someone unless they have themselves walked the identical path.  If this is true of me, then my assumption is that this may be true of you.  What we can do for one another during times of feeling alone is ‘be present’ for one another.  Show up for one another…this doesn’t mean we have to always agree, but it does mean we love unconditionally even when we disagree.  This is what God has done for us in this ‘partridge in a pear tree’ analogous for ‘a baby born in a manger’.  If, and when, that baby is born in our hearts, then there is a different heartbeat that begins to enter all relationships…and the beginning of that certainly can begin with a friend.  It could be said that ‘friendship’ is a laboratory of learning to relate in other places and spaces.

Who might I (and maybe you too) give a turtle dove, if not literally, figurately, this ‘turtle doves’ day?  Is it a friend I’ve taken for granted?  Is a friend whose relationship seems fragile?  Is it a friend whose actions/inactions are suddenly difficult to understand and thus I have personalized THEIR struggle?  Who in my circle of relationships needs a ‘turtle dove’ from me?  From you?

It really isn’t the ‘things’ we wrap and give one another for Christmas that matter.  It is that we give one another the gift of saying ‘YOU matter’.  Who, on this second day of Christmas, might we offer the gift of saying, “you are important, valuable and you matter a great deal to me”.  Let’s give away some ‘turtle doves’ today…what do you say.

Always Thinking…

The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop 

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