A few weeks ago my 40-year-old, treasured, chiming grandfather clock stopped chiming, but continued to keep time.
Alone at home, at age 86, I missed the sound. Global concerns were descending as a coronavirus pandemic was being declared. Devastating problems, worldwide, prevailed. Billions of people would suffer. The future looked bleak, indeed.
The silence of my clock reminded me of the role the gigantic Big Ben clock had played 80 years ago from the tower of Westminster Palace in London during the Second World War. It soon became apparent that the sound of its chimes sustained the British during the horror of the bombing raids. It was so reassuring that it was even recorded and broadcast throughout the entire United Kingdom during the war years. As long as the clock chimed, there was hope.
With this memory in mind, I made a note to have my clock repaired as soon as the COVID-19 crisis passed. Then early in the morning of March 18, a 5.7 earthquake shook my house on the east side of Salt Lake City, and my clock chimed. It’s remarkable! It continues to do so, four times each hour. The sound gives me hope.
There are other sounds in my house that are comforting and reassuring: recorded hymns, the ring of the telephone, the ding of my computer, the tapping on the window by a kind neighbor dropping off something at my door, the whir of the microwave oven as it warms up my food, the subtle click of the furnace as it kicks in to heat my home, the inspiration of messages and music from my devices, and the joyous tone of beloved family members’ voices as we Zoom in each Sunday.
I have my very own Big Ben. And there is hope.
Daryl Van Dam Hoole
Salt Lake City