I lost my engagement ring last week.
As we were driving to the employee holiday party, I reached down into my purse where I had left it last and couldn’t find it. I only recently started wearing it again and was in disbelief that something I cared little about months ago, was now frantically taking over my psyche as I tried to recollect all the places I had been the last 48 hours. Could it be Walmart? While grocery shopping? What if I dropped it in a parking lot or at the department store? The possibilities raised my anxiety and shortened my breaths.
I remember nostalgically telling my girlfriend the other night about my beloved heart shaped engagement ring. I explained how my husband spent his entire savings on this ring, a stone he hand-picked with a jeweler, knowing my love for hearts, but not knowing that we would discover an unplanned pregnancy a few months after his investment. Annoyed, I became depressed by our predicament, being unmarried, jobless and lacking health insurance and thanks to this ring – any savings.
I recalled the day he gave it to me, inside the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, where my family and friends hid watching and filming in the second story pew. I reminisced on our early years, picking up household items at garage sales, working as a caregiver for extra money and dreaming of a wedding, a home of our own and a big family someday. I thought about all the things I own, all the objects I liked, but did not truly love – and I realized I only valued one object in this world…
And it was this ring.
The ring I couldn’t find anymore. The ring I didn’t wear for months and kept hidden in my bathroom cabinet. The ring I couldn’t stop staring at after receiving it almost nine years ago, but haven’t looked at very much since. The ring that symbolized his sacrifice, promise, commitment and love. I felt horrible, sad that I diminished its importance and the early memories it represented.
Inside the dark vehicle, I confessed to David about the misplaced ring. Not surprisingly, he calmly said we would find it and look for it later. His confidence did the opposite effect on me as I knew he didn’t know how careless I was in placing it in a purse pocket that can easily drop small items. I fell asleep that evening feeling out of sorts, knowing that I had to let go of material objects. I took comfort in knowing my mother lost important jewelry, that others have lost things that symbolized a great deal to them and while this ring could be lost forever, perhaps it’s a sign that we will continue to endure despite the disappearance.
In less than twelve hours I relived our marriage.
From the moment I stepped off the plane in New Orleans and met this profound poet, to the day he got down on one knee and proposed marriage, to the early years enjoying evening walks around our quaint neighborhood during our first pregnancy, to the first time we pulled out the carpet (while I was pregnant with baby #2) to remodel the first care home. I thought about the distractions that pulled us apart, from the rambunctious kids, our dedication to two nonprofits, the growing businesses and separate travels. I thought about these last several months, going with my best friend to the courthouse and filling separation paperwork, crying myself to sleep and waking each day hoping the pain would lessen.
I thought about never seeing that ring again and being okay with it. I detached myself from the outcome. I let go of my expectations and let God.
Around mid-morning I received a text from my girlfriend, the same one whom I retold the story of our humble beginnings with. She had found my ring in the backseat of her car amongst other coins I dropped when my purse flipped over while with her the other night.
A wave of relief and happiness came over me. I stared at the ring for the first time in perhaps years. I didn’t stop wearing it for several days after and I started looking at my husband with greater endearment. Perhaps my carelessness was a sign to hold tighter to things you love, perhaps my nostalgia was a reminder of a history forgotten, perhaps my sadness and elation was a testament of how much I still loved my husband…
Perhaps this could mean anything, but finding “it” meant everything to someone who felt lost in her marriage for a very long time. What we choose to make of any experience, is our decision…and today, I decide to save my marriage.