The Wedding Ring

It was a beautiful Saturday; the kind of day that motorcycle riders hope for in late January – early February. It was still a little cold, but there was no way I was going to miss my chance to ride for the first time this winter. Every time the weather had gotten into the 50’s and 60’s I was busy at the pizzeria or we already had plans. I had to work that evening, but I had an hour or two before I had to go, so I climbed on my bike, stopped at the gas station and took a short ride into Franklin to grab some lunch before heading back to the house.
It wasn’t until later that evening that I realized that something was missing. I kept rubbing my finger, but my wedding ring was gone. I felt through my pockets and looked through the car. I walked the parking lot where I had parked the bike when I came up for lunch, but I could not find the ring anywhere. I got home and looked through the garage, the bags on my bike and in my gloves and coat that I wear when I ride. It was all to no avail; the ring was gone.
Fast forward to this week; I was heading up to work and, once again, I began to rub the inside of my ring finger with my thumb. I do that a lot…it’s a nervous habit I guess. As I rubbed and realized that the ring was still gone, I looked down at my hand and could see the outline of the ring that had been missing for almost a month. I guess it takes a while to remove the mark left by a ring over a 27 ½ year period. That got me to thinking about a couple of things.
My first thought was that the marks that are left on our lives from relationships don’t just disappear overnight. They stay there for a while. I know how easy it can be to think that I am just going to run away and start my life over, but the reality is we all still carry the imprint of our previous choices and circumstances with us. You can’t just make those things go away. The second thing that began to run through my mind was along the same line, but from a different angle.
My guess is that the ring fell off while I was getting gas. You see, since we bought Brothers’ Pizza I have lost 20 lbs on the “all you care to eat pizza diet”. You can eat as much pizza, pasta, salads and subs as you want, the trick is you work from 8 in the morning till 9:30 at night and never sit down…you just keep running and fixing and working and making and all the other things that are involved with owning a business, but I have gotten off track.
So I got to thinking about the person who found my wedding ring. I’m sure to them it looked like a cheap old beat up ring, which I guess is true at some levels. It wasn’t a very expensive ring and it did have a lot of scratches and it was bent and it had some dings in it. To the casual observer they would just see an old ring.
But to me; those marks on the ring represented a life of good and bad times with Meredith. There was the mark that happened when we were horse-back riding on our 25 anniversary and it was oblong from moving furniture into our house and it got caught between the couch and the door jam. There were also marks from when we almost got a divorce and I got mad and threw the ring on the ground and stepped on it. I suddenly realized that those marks represented the ups and downs of our relationship.
Now I can go and buy a new ring and start over. It will be all shiny and nice and round and everything about it will be perfect. But the point of this is, in time there will be new scratches and marks and it will get smashed in a door jam and the new ring will get oblong. It won’t remain perfect forever. It will go through trials and it will have incredible times too and each experience will leave another reminder of life and relationships on that ring. As nice as a new ring might be, I kind of liked the old ring and wish I had it back.
And I guess that’s the point. It seems that too many times we are willing to throw away the old, when things aren’t perfect, and start over. We think that a shiny new start will somehow make things better. We may walk out on a spouse, a job, family, friends and even our faith. When the old one gets too hard or just has too many bumps and bruises we walk away. If you’re interested in a little advice from a middle aged man with many regrets; stick with it. You may just learn over time that it’s the bumps and bruises that make the whole thing worthwhile.

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One Response to The Wedding Ring

  1. Carmen says:

    I’m not sure how I missed this post, but it’s a great one! Thanks for being so transparent in a world full of “perfect” on the outside. I really like this one a lot.

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