I remember so clearly the afternoon I removed my wedding ring. My FH (former husband) was still staying at the house and was in the master bedroom wrestling with the boys. There was laughter, loud thumps then more laughter. To an outsider our home had the sounds of a happy family, but my heart was empty and sad.
I wasn’t used to taking it off so I had to use dish soap to get it prepped. I was determined. As I twisted, turned and pulled, I thought about what removing the ring represented. For me, it was years of pain and a difficult marriage that seemed to be disintegrating into nothing. This is perhaps one of the hardest pills to swallow in the end…you look back on all the hard seasons and the work and effort you put into the relationship and in what seems like an instant, it is completely gone. He was still living at our place but our relationship was completely broken.
When the ring finally slid off my finger I rinsed it off and held it in my hand. My world was spinning. I had saved the box in which it had been offered to me sixteen years earlier, so I popped it open and gently sat the ring inside. And then I closed it.
As I held the box in my hand I recalled my engagement day which took place at a quaint restaurant during a visit to introduce my FH to my family in the mid 90’s. My FH collaborated with my younger brother who was hiding in the back room so he could get some good shots of the proposal. At one point I thought I saw my brother but then he quickly disappeared. When I mentioned it to my FH, he blew it off and dinner continued. We had a great laugh later when Jason came out and joined the celebration. I remember everything about that night…what I was wearing, the way I had curled my hair, my FH getting down on one knee. We even met a couple who was dining at the table next to us who took a few shots on their camera (this was before the days of iPhones) and they ended up coming to our wedding.
I remember my FH putting the ring on my finger that night and as I held my hand out, I couldn’t believe how big and beautiful it was–it was definitely more than I had expected. His car had been totaled in an accident which gave him several thousand dollars to buy this beautiful ring from a diamond dealer in town. We had looked at rings one day and I had picked out a simple gold band much like the one on my engagement ring. I couldn’t stop staring at it; it was perfect to me.
Sixteen years later I tucked it away somewhere to keep it safe and I must have been in a daze that day because months later I couldn’t remember where it was. It wasn’t in the obvious places and I honestly thought I had lost it or someone had taken it (haha, a little paranoia here). Ironically, at one point I found it stashed in with my journals and realized I had created a burial space for the sad things in my life. I fished it out and locked it in my safe with some other valuables. I knew it had value, I just didn’t understand what it was.
I have opened that box a few times over the last several years. I stare at the band and wonder what purpose it now serves in my life. I once googled “what to do with your old wedding ring” and here were the suggestions that popped up:
-Give it back to your ex (I felt that would be a slap in the face)
-Sell it (not sure why but I couldn’t imagine letting it go in this way)
-Hang it from a chain and make it a necklace (uh, no thanks)
-Remove the diamond and create a new jewelry piece (nope)
-Purchase a wedding ring casket and lay it to rest (these do exist, google it)
-Save it for one of your children (seriously?)
-I also had a friend who burned hers (my fireplaces are gas with glass on them so that wouldn’t work)
None of these ideas spoke to me. I’ve learned that when you don’t know which way to turn, you just keep going straight. So I’ve kept that ring safe in its box hoping that someday I would know what to do with it. And I finally got my revelation.
Over this sweet season of healing God has shown me that this ring symbolizes everything good in my life. Sometimes “good” doesn’t necessarily mean wonderful…one of its definitions is “something that is beneficial.” And I have learned to appreciate and embrace the benefits (the advantages gained) of a broken heart and relationship. In my pile of rubble I have discovered the most valuable treasures that would not have been found had I not gone through something like this.
God gave me a visual picture of a flower with my ring in the middle of it. My diamond represents the very center of the flower which is called the pistil. It produces ovules that develop into fruit and seeds. This has so much significance to me because it means that my diamond represents the experiences in my life/marriage that have created the fruit that I have in my life today. This ring that used to represent sadness to me has actually been the catalyst to this INCREDIBLE season in my journey. It is priceless because it has brought me to a place of unbelievable growth and healing that I would have never experienced had I not said “yes” and accepted the gift of this ring in the first place.
Jake asked me awhile back if I would save my wedding band for him. (I think this was more of a “because then I wouldn’t have to buy one” request than a sentimental one, LOL!!!) At the time I thought, “Why in the world would you want something that symbolizes a failed marriage?” But perhaps he was viewing this through a different lens. Maybe he’s benefitted from seeing his mama get her joy back. Maybe he’s seen me healthier than he ever saw me in my marriage (thank you, Jesus). And perhaps he saw the deeper meaning in what the ring represented far before I did. That makes me smile. I’ll be saving this ring for you, sweet boy. Because yes, it represents everything good and beautiful in my life. And I am happy to share this incredible gift with you and the amazing woman who will someday join our family.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.
3 thoughts on “The ring”
Such deep thoughts around the ring. Thank you for sharing. I feel compelled to tell you my perspective as a kid of divorced parents. Both my parents gave away or sold their rings. I was only 7 when they split up and so I do not remember what their rings looked like and I always wished I had. I have on numerous occasion wanted to try on my Mom’s engagement ring and see if it fit me. It has always been so sad to me that she got rid of it like another slap in the face that “I don’t love your dad anymore”! I know that’s not what she was thinking when she got rid of it but to a kid that’s how it felt and as I’ve gotten older I still grieve not being at least given the option to have it or at least see it. I always wanted pictures of when they were together, wedding pictures and just my childhood stuff. My Mom got rid of a lot of things so I only have a few treasures from those days. Sadly for me my childhood is broken up into the good days and the bad, sort of like BD and AD (before divorce and after divorce). Both parents chose to remarry only about a year and a half after the divorce and they chose poorly. So what has brought a lot of grief (and still does) are the spouses they chose. It wasn’t just the fact that they got divorced but that they remarried so fast and to very, very difficult people.
So I share all this to say I’m so glad you have chosen to keep the ring. It may have some pain wrapped up into for you but I’m sure your kids see it differently. I also love how you have chosen to face your pain head-on and work through the difficult stuff. So wish my parents had taken the time to do that. They did not know Jesus at the time (came to the Lord AD) and so they just dealt with their pain the best they knew how.
Love you friend thanks again for your openness to share your journey! Erin
Oh Erin, this is so raw and real, thank you. I’ve read it a couple times, it really spoke to me. Gives such good perspective from a child’s perspective. Thank you…❤️
Yaaaaas great idea!! Re purpose that gem!!! Love you
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