We were like most people first starting out. When we got married, we were at the beginning of our careers. In other words, we couldn’t afford an expensive wedding ring, just an awesome one. It was a small marquis-cut diamond with rubies on either side. Beautiful. Both traditional and unique. I loved it.
Wish I had a picture of this ring, but this happened long before cell phones and phone cameras.
Six years later, we adopted our daughter. Beautiful. On my first Mother’s Day, she was ten months old. My husband, who loves me, handed me a ring-sized box. “Leah got you this with her allowance,” he explained.
My heart melted.
It melted again when I opened the box: A ring with a ruby in the center and diamonds on either side. The perfect companion to my wedding ring. Wife and Mother.
The two rings reminded me every day of my love for Rich and Leah, and their love for me.
Then we attended the Navy Bean Festival in Rising Sun, Indiana. Yep. It’s a thing. A cool thing. It was a great time, enjoying the Indiana Fall and all the creative crafts and events. It was time to sit down for some bean soup and cornbread for lunch, and we found our place at a long, crowded table with open windows to let the gently brisk fall air stir our senses. Who knew bean soup tastes and smells like home? The inviting smell of the soup wafted out the windows.
One of which made his way into the building, where my left-hand ring finger apparently bothered him.
So he stung it.
The paramedic hated telling me he was going to have to cut it off my poor swollen ring finger.
I did, too.
Rich did, too.
But that’s life.
We couldn’t afford to replace the ring, but I wanted a ring so we went to Walmart and got a cheapie, planning on buying a good one later. It was pretty. However, it didn’t take long for a prong to get messed up and get caught on everything; a diamond chip disappeared. I had to quit wearing it.
Fast forward several years later. My husband, who loves me, decided enough was enough. He was on a trip to Juneau and decided to surprise me with a new ring.
Yet another melt-my-heart moment.
Only I am just 4’6”. The ring needed to be sized. Our local jeweler couldn’t do it, as he knew it would end up almost a square shape, as far down as it needed to be cut. The jeweler in Juneau said he could do it, but he was preparing to close up for the winter, so I had to make haste. We mailed the ring along with my old high school class ring which did fit, insured and all, to Rich’s co-worker in Juneau, who took the ring to the jeweler and returned it to us when he finished sizing it. Yeah, it’s the slightest bit square-ish. But not really. It fits. And I love it, and it reminds me of Rich’s love for me every time I put it on.
Fast forward a couple of years. We were at the movie theater, and my hands were dry. As we waited for the movie to start, I took off my rings, put my lotion on, settled in to enjoy the movie…
And I noticed later…at home…No ring.
My heart dropped. I took it off for the lotion. But it was also cold that day, and I took gloves on and off as we went to and fro. It could have fallen anywhere. Especially with be-lotioned hands.
My husband, who loves me, did not get upset.
My heart stayed in my stomach for the next couple of days until the movie theater was open and I could call. But I didn’t need to call.
Someone responded to my Facebook message asking people to watch for it. That someone was the manager of the theater.
A teenage boy had found my ring when he went to watch the late movie that night.
And turned it in.
Hope for the world.
And my heart returned to its rightful place, beating away in my chest.
As our pastor reminded us yesterday, a wedding ring isn’t a marriage. It is just a symbol, just a thing.
So why have my ring(s) meant so much to me?
The same reason why stomping on a flag is more than stomping on a piece of cloth.
The same reason why a cross is more than just a decoration or something pretty to wear.
It’s the meaning behind the symbol.
A cross is not my faith, but it is a symbol of my faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That sacrifice is why the cross means something.
The American flag is not my country, but it is a symbol of my country and its history and its rich legacy of democracy. That history and legacy is why the stars and stripes mean something.
A wedding ring is not love. But love is why my wedding ring means something.
I love you, too, Rich.
What symbols mean a lot to you? What is behind the symbol? I’d love to hear!