Symbol of Love

Last week, my engagement ring split in half, as in …literally. Let me explain.  It was a random Tuesday afternoon when I felt the ring very loose on the index finger of my left hand, something that had not happened to me since the days before I had my children. Back then, I had such lovely slim fingers. Now I’d be lucky if I can get the ring over my knuckle with a generous amount of soapy water and a crowbar!

I looked down, sensing something was wrong and saw that my side diamond was detached from the main stone. The entire base of my ring had separated like the Red Sea did for Moses in the Bible. I took it as a sign. Oh no! Did this mean my marriage was headed for an unhappy ending? Did this mean it would split, like the Red Sea? Did I need to re-evaluate my relationship with my husband? Or did it just simply mean I needed to get it fixed and not read anything into it other than I seriously needed to go back on a strict diet.

I immediately took the ring to the jeweler and he suggested a new setting. I looked at him like he was nuts. You see, I’m the sentimental type, which means I don’t throw out anything! I keep anything and everything that has some sort of an emotional tie to me. It can be a piece of lint that I found while doing our first load of laundry in my new house. You may think I’m joking, but I assure you, I’m absolutely serious. I still have the flower from the bouquet of white roses my husband gave me on our first date pressed inside my first copy of Pride and Prejudice, which I had bought as a thirteen year old teenager. I still have the ticket stub from the movie I went to the night I found out I was pregnant with my first child. And if my husband didn’t insist, I would have kept the cord stump that fell off from each of my kid’s belly buttons upon their births. So to get a new setting? It was like the jeweler was asking me to part with one of my vital organs. I liked my old setting. No, I take that back. It’s more like adore it! It’s the ring the love of my life slipped on my finger when he asked me to be his wife. It’s the same ring I had on the day that we were married. It’s the same ring I looked at with happiness on the day each of my children were born. I didn’t want anything new. I wanted the old. Just fix my ring! Yet, it was clear from his explanation and the look of disgust on his face that there was no other choice. I left the store without my ring and with a bare finger that had an outline of pale skin where my ring should have been.

I came home dejected, upset at this cruel twist of fate, but decided to put it out of my mind because there was nothing more to be done . . . until a week had passed. On a random Tuesday evening, in the middle of my kitchen, while I was just finishing putting the plates away from our dinner meal, my husband got down on one knee and took out the most beautiful ring I had ever seen out of his pocket. He told me how much the first eighteen years had meant to him and how he was looking forward to the next eighteen. A second proposal of sorts. How romantic! Of course, I said yes, again and I realized in that moment that “new” ain’t so bad. In fact, it’s better than that. It’s downright amazing and much larger than old!

Now, I’m not going to go crazy and purge all of my old stuff. Most of the old stuff will stay with me, including the ticket stub and the dried up flower and the old broken gold ring where my diamond used to be. But I realize that there’s always room for new: new experiences, new loves, new rings and new re-declarations of love.

I look down at my ring now, all shiny and sparkling and realize that I got it all wrong. The best things don’t necessarily come from the past. The best things can be those that haven’t happened yet, those that are yet to come. And you know what? I’m OK with that; more than OK in fact. And the absolutely best thing about my new ring? It’s been resized and fits me perfectly now, which means I don’t have to worry about going on that diet anymore!

Erin

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