I can remember going to the jeweler’s and picking out our wedding bands. We had them inscribed with our initials and the date of our wedding. I prayed and knew I’d wear that ring forever and I did. Until now.
I’d never worn a ring before, and it felt so odd on my hand. On our honeymoon I’m sure I was easy to pick out as a newlywed. “He’s the one fingering the gold band on his left hand. Obviously he’s never worn one before.”
I was acutely aware of it, as aware as I was of the woman who was sitting across from me at the breakfast table now, reading the newspaper and drinking her coffee. The answer to my “forever” prayer.
Sometimes the ring would clink against the side of glass, making a musical sound, a little reminder, “You’re a married man now.” Sometimes it would scrape against a brick wall or get a little scratched when I scrubbed the pots and pans.
My dad never wore a wedding ring. They were less common for men of his generation. Not for ours. None of us would have exited the church ceremony without that band of gold.
It says who you are and whose you are. A reminder, too, if you’re ever in a tempting situation. (Not for nothing did the Lord give us the words of prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.”)
My wife says all women notice whether men are wearing a wedding ring or not. I don’t pay too much attention, but I’m going to trust her on this one. The ring is a tangible sign of our vows and prayers.
In thirty-some years of marriage I haven’t taken it off for more than a minute. It’s a part of me, like Carol is a part of me. We are one.
Then just the other day I got a bug bite on my ring finger which became infected. When I dropped into the neighborhood clinic to get it lanced, the doctor stared at the bulging skin and said, “I’m sorry but we’re going to have to cut off your ring.”
She and the nurse had a contraption that allowed them to saw through the band of gold without sawing off my finger. Then they stretched it with pliers and pulled it off.
It sat there on a piece of gauze, the scratches and scrapes visible, the ring worn with age. Truth to tell, I don’t look much like the young bridegroom I was when Carol first stuck it on my left hand.
But inside the ring was a different story: smooth, shiny and polished, the initials as clear as when the jeweler put them there.
Carol says there’s another jeweler in town who might be able to mend the ring and solder it back together. Good as new? Well, not exactly.
I’m glad of the bumps and bruises on it, reminders of the wear and tear of life. Carol and I have been through a lot over the years. We’ve earned our wrinkles.
But our love for each other is still strong, stronger than it was when we first said our vows. We’re like the inside of the ring, as good as gold.
Rings aren’t eternal, love is.
I’ll let you know how the ring looks when it’s all fixed up.