Monday, October 22, 2007

The Ring Cycle--Part I

Spiritual Lessons Learned from Losing Wedding Rings

Unlike most women, I have 3 wedding rings, one that my husband of 16 years (living together 20) put on my finger, which was two kinds of gold and we chose together, and a platinum and diamond set that my grandfather gave me after Bill and I eloped to New Orleans. My grandfather designed the set and had it made for my grandmother when they were married in the 1920's--it's gorgeous.

Nonetheless, despite the meaning these rings have for me, unlike most women I remove them every night and when I shower or swim because I'm allergic to the metal and my skin needs breaks from it.

As a result of the removal and my corresponding general attitude of carelessness, I have lost these rings several times. In this blog, I am going to begin a series chronicalling the spiritual lessons I have learned from losing my wedding rings.

Story 1:

I am in Buffalo, New York visiting my in-laws. Due to previous close calls, I have deliberately left my diamond set in Sacramento, traveling only with the gold ring (I don't want anyone to think I'm not married!). While in Buffalo, we visit Betty Mensch a wonderful former law professor of ours whose mother has a little house down in the Chataqua, NY (aka PBS Disneyland).

After a nice visit and treat, we swim with the kids in the lake. Later we return to Buffalo and I discover that my ring is missing. Knowing that I went swimming, and would have removed my ring, I call Betty and she turns the little summer house upside down looking for it--no luck.

I look around the house in Buffalo too. I inform my husband that the ring is missing. He seems vaguely alarmed at two things: 1) that I'm categorizing it as "missing" when I'm constantly mislaying the rings and 2) that I don't actually seem particularly bothered by it.

The common theme throughout the ring cycle is this: whenever I am in throes of a ring loss, I am overcome with a feeling of peace. I am filled with a sort of inner knowing that all is well and that the ring will return.

In this instance, the ring didn't. We looked all over the house in Buffalo and didn't find it. We returned to Sacramento with assurances from my mother-in-law that she would have her house cleaner look for it carefully when she vacuumed.

Still no luck. I begin to think, "should I panic? where is my ring? I know it's somewhere." I can't describe this "I know it's somewhere feeling." It's craziness really. But all I can tell you is that throughout this loss, my feeling was "it's not lost. This ring is somewhere, I just don't know where."

Now to the average reader, the difference between "lost" and "I don't know where it is" may seem about like the difference between "dead" and "passed away," i.e., nonexistent. But to me the difference is this: lost is hopeless, and I don't know where it is is a temporary condition easily remedied by knowing where it is--ha!

Anyway, long ring story short, years pass and I don't find the ring. Once I even call the jeweler from whom we bought it to explore the possibility of a replacement, but something in me whispers, "don't bother. It is known where it is."

Two summers later we arrive in Buffalo get to the room in which we typically stay and I open the empty drawer in the dresser to begin to unpack my clothes. There, at the bottom of the drawer, all alone is the ring.

Elated, I pick it up and run around the house with it, "I found my wedding ring! See, it was there all along!"

Spiritual lesson learned: there is no time in God--that ring was there all along waiting for me, just like all my other gifts, if only I know where to look for them.

No comments: