Pearls of Wisdom
Judy Wheeler ran up the stairs toward her room. She could hear her little brother, Samuel, counting downstairs. Her little sister, Elizabeth, ran into her parents room and hid behind the desk. Judy giggled. Hide and seek was such a fun game! She ran into her closet and closed the door behind her, climbed onto the shoe rack, and sat down. She pulled a few dresses over her and curled up her toes. It was a great hiding spot- not to brag, or anything, but no one ever found her there!
Samuel stomped up the staircase, singing. He was six years old and loved this game more than anything else. He usually didn't want to be "it" but Elizabeth and Judy told him he had to or they wouldn't play. So he counted to thirty and started looking. When he reached Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler’s room, Judy could hear Elizabeth giggle.
"I found you!!" Samuel cried out. Elizabeth sighed.
"Have you found Judy yet?" she asked. Judy, of course, was not found, as Samuel told her. Judy took a deep breath as Samuel and Elizabeth came in, poked the covers of the bed, peeked underneath it, and prodded behind the dresser. Samuel walked over to the closet and opened the door. He shoved the dresses to the right. Then the left. Judy shrunk into the corner.
"Not in here," Samuel shrugged and he and his sister jumped out of the room. Judy, tired of being cramped up in that position, fell out of the closet and stretched her legs. Since they lived in such a big house, Sam and Elizabeth wouldn't re-check the room for a few minutes. Judy walked over to the door and peeked out. No one was there. She tip-toed silently out and walked quietly down the stairs. She reached the kitchen with ease. Judy pulled herself onto a stool in the kitchen and reached for a banana.
"No you don't, little Judy!" her father exclaimed. Suddenly they both heard voices from the living room.
"Ah-ha! Daddy, thanks for telling us where Judy is!" Samuel yelled and came bursting into the kitchen. But Judy made a run for it and slipped out of sight just in time.
"Found- huh?" Elizabeth started. "Where did she go, Daddy?"
"She just disappeared! She's got fast little legs, that Judy!" he smiled.
Meanwhile, Judy was racing up the old servant's stairwell. It led into her parent's bedroom and she never took the route. As she reached the top, she noticed something. A small sliver of light through the doorframe made something glisten. What was it?
Judy pushed open her parent's stairwell door to get a better look. As light streamed in, Judy saw something she had never seen before.
It seemed to glisten in the light. The copper doorknob seemed to scream "Adventure!". So Judy, making sure to push her parent's door completely open (just to be safe), turned the doorknob. The old wooden door creaked as it swung inwards. Judy stopped for a moment as her eyes adjusted. A tiny round window, covered with dust, let in a small amount of light. Judy could just make out the piles of boxes and Christmas decorations. She knew her parents stored things somewhere within the servant's stairwell, but she had never known about this! Suddenly something caught her eye. It was an old wooden chest. She stepped toward it carefully, the boards beneath her groaning at her weight on them. Judy gasped as she reached the gorgeous piece of woodwork. On the chest was a piece of metal, nailed to the front. Engraved on the front was the name "Rosalia Carter Wheeler". It was so beautiful. Judy repeated the name to herself a few times, then fumbled around in the darkness, trying to figure out how to open it.
Judy realized that the light in the room was getting dark. She didn't realize two familiar faces, that of her mother and father, watching her from the doorway, silently. She was too enwrapped in her exciting adventure. Suddenly something that sounded like metal hit Judy's toe.
It was an old metal key. On it was carved the initials RCW.
It was an old metal key. On it was carved the initials RCW.
Judy gasped. She slowly walked toward the chest and nervously grasped the key in her hand. She thrust it into the lock and it clicked. The clacking of unlocking contraptions intrigued her and suddenly.... the moment was over. Judy took a deep breath as she lifted the lid of the wonderful-smelling cedar chest. But what lay inside was even better. On the very top was a letter. An old, yellowed-with-time letter that called to her. She reached towards it, cautiously, and with the tips of her fingers lifted the writing out. The wax seal had long since opened with age and Judy's heart beat faster and faster. She lifted the flap and reached inside. The sweet-smelling letter was like an old book. The older it gets, the more it gets read- at least to Judy.
The letter was torn on the corner but nothing else was wrong.
It was so mysterious but simply fantastic, and Judy eagerly, but carefully, unfolded the letter.
Each fold in the paper seemed to be tearing, an ancient piece of paper that seemed to disintegrate in the hands of the finder. Seconds passed quickly as Judy's eyes came to rest on the top of the page. In the most unspeakable writing was written:
I know you don't know me very well. If your parents haven't already told you about me, I might as well tell you. My name is Rosalia Carter Wheeler. I married into the family. I married your great-uncle John. My life was a wonderful one and the entire Wheeler family never let me down. But now, Judy, it's time for me to finish the race. I've done my part.
But I have a challenge. I propose to you something that I want you to get done before your race ends.
You will find out what I mean when you continue looking through my hope chest.
But as of now I think I need to tell you why I chose you to take this quest. It is because, Judy darling, you are only days old. When I hold you I can only think that someday you will be just like your mother. Just as full of adventure and excitement as anyone. But for unknown reasons, you'll seem to have a knack for finding things. That's what I did when I was a girl.
Just remember that my quest doesn't lead to anything more exciting, not even close to what God has for you and me at the end of His quest. Remember Psalms 86:11. "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."
Judy, your mother will guide you in truth- that I can promise. But it is up to you whether you want to take my challenge or not. So I propose to you: You may either close this letter and put it back in the chest, locking it and leaving the room, or you may continue. How will you continue?
You'll have to find out.
Aunt Rosalia Carter Wheeler
Judy stood dumbfounded for a moment. She knew she would never put the letter back, so she folded it up and set it aside. Then she thrust her hands inside the chest and started pulling out things. An old, hand-quilted blanket with heavenly embroidery, a Bible, a rag doll. Item after item was pulled out and each one more intriguing than the other. Soon the chest was empty. Judy was confused. There was nothing in the chest, she thought as she glanced in. But what about the quest. Suddenly something caught her eye as it flashed. Her thoughts were racing and her heart was beating as she looked in and found a small, metal ring to a false bottom.
Judy's fingers clasped around the ring.
She slowly and carefully pulled the false bottom up...
It looked empty but Judy knew it wasn't. There was no object in there, though. She groped along the bottom, hoping to find a hidden compartment or something hidden in a crack. Finally she found something. When she rubbed her fingers over a certain spot, there were tiny crevasses that her fingers bounced across. She ran to get a flashlight. Racing back up the stairs, her thoughts were a-whirl. She didn't know exactly how to explain her feelings. Excitement? Fear? Determination? She only knew that she wanted to figure out what it was on the bottom of the hope chest.
Flickering the flash light on the bottom of the false bottom, Judy was confused. There were no rings of knobs, and she couldn't see anything that looked like a secret compartment. She rubbed her fingers along the bottom. Ah-ha! she thought. She turned the flashlight on the corner, deep within the hope chest. Tilting her head, Judy could read what it said.
one Timothy at 9 and ten
Beneath that was written:
Solve the riddle,
Solve the case,
Finish the quest,
Where you began the race.
Judy was puzzled. What could it mean? And what did it refer to when it said "the race"? Judy sat there, lost in thought for a moment. Judy started folding the items from the chest back up and placing them inside. She didn't want to give up, but it didn't make any sense.
Suddenly it occurred to Judy. “One Timothy at 9 and ten" could mean two things: One, it could mean Aunt Rosalia's Timothy grandfather clock, and something about the time at 9 and ten. Judy looked over in the far corner of the closet where the clock stood. Holding her breath, she walked over to the clock. There was nothing unusual about it. She turned the key that stood in the lock and yanked the door open gently. Its metal hinges were rusted and opened with terrible squeaking. Judy flipped on her flashlight and looked up at the clock work. Nothing. She felt around near the clock's face. Maybe there was a compartment up by the nine and ten numbers. But still, she couldn't find anything. Perhaps her brain needed a rest. Judy walked out of the attic and into her parent's bedroom. Collapsing onto the bed, she tried to relax but her brain kept whirling. Judy tossed and turned for a few minutes before her eye fell upon something in the room that made something click.
The family Bible rested on the nightstand. Judy sat straight up, eyes wide.
Because suddenly, for some reason, she had thought "First Timothy Nine Ten.”
Judy raced to the Bible and flipped open to 1st Timothy. Wait- there was no Chapter 9 in 1st Timothy! It only had six. Maybe verses 9 and 10... Judy quickly scanned chapter one. Nothing in particular of verses nine and ten stood out to her. Chapter two verses 9 and 10 read: "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." Judy read the other verses in 1st Timothy and found nothing. Finally she closed the Bible, convinced it was a dead end. Slowly she dragged herself into the attic, trying to think of what it might mean. As she reached the hope chest she glanced over at Aunt Rosalia's family bible.
She opened to 1st Timothy, hoping beyond hope that this would lead her to something.
The pages rustled as Judy's trembling hands came upon 1st Timothy.
Chapter 2, verses 9 and 10 were underlined. Wedged in the crack between pages lay a gold chain. A bookmark, maybe?
Judy pulled it out. At the end of the gold chain was a perfect pearl, without defect. Tied to the chain was a note.
Please keep this necklace. Congratulations, you solved the quest. Did I stump you with my riddle? Perhaps it was too easy- or perhaps too hard. Well, I'd like you to know something. Now that you have that necklace, you have to know something. I wore that on my wedding day- perhaps you'll do the same.
There was a matching bracelet. The secret to that lies within my armoire.
But, I can't tell you anymore. Ready for another quest?
All my love,
Aunt Rosalia Wheeler Carter"