He had found the ring, and I could not stop crying
July 28, 2022
And then a few weeks ago I lost the ring. I wore it on a trip to belatedly celebrate our wedding anniversary in the same place we had been to on our first anniversary. I wore it during the weekend when my husband had returned home, and I had stayed on to meet up with girlfriends I hadn’t seen in two years. I wore the ring as we were packing up our Airbnb, took it off to wash the final dishes. I put it down on the kitchen counter.
I flew home and started unpacking and saw my son’s rings on our kitchen table, and my heart stopped. I looked down and saw my left hand, missing the sapphire ring I had bought myself. I checked everything in my luggage and tote bag. I left a text message and voicemail for the Airbnb host. I told myself, “This is what you get for treating yourself.” My inner critic is loud and clear. I couldn’t bring myself to cry because I was furious with myself.
Furious for forgetting to put the ring back on. For not slowing down enough to notice. For daring to treat myself to something I knew I did not deserve. The sadness and disappointment, I realized, was not just that I had lost the ring but because I was replaying a message I had absorbed into my body. I did not deserve the gift. I did not deserve the extravagance. I did not deserve joy or beauty. I was furious at myself for believing, for hoping that the negative messages from long ago would no longer prove true.
I asked friends to pray. I know that God is not a celestial vending machine. I know the prayers were not for the ring to magically appear, but to ease the pain that was so deep that I was embarrassed to share the details. The ring was a symbol of my hope, and I desperately did not want my hope to be wrapped up in a symbol, a thing. But that’s what it was. A tangible reminder of the risk I took to believe I was deserving. A symbol of hope as the world seemed to be falling apart against an invisible virus. Friends who understood prayed. I think we all understood how the pandemic had cracked open our hearts to see what we dared not hope for, and so my friends prayed.
Yes, I remembered the bracelet and told him that I couldn’t fly back and drive to the Airbnb to scour the home.
And then he handed me the sapphire ring I thought I had lost and had given up hope of finding or replacing. It had dropped out of the laundry that he was folding.
I could not stop crying. The tears streamed and then came the physical sobbing, my chest heaving and my body shaking. It may sound silly, but when I lost that bracelet and then the ring, I realized I have a tenuous relationship with hope – the belief that things can change, that I can change, that the messages we believe of ourselves and our world can be changed. My hope had been found, not in the ring itself, but in all the wrestling I did and continue to do with my understanding of myself and of a God who is neither a vending machine nor a vindictive judge.
Perhaps I will need to lose a few more things to come to a deeper, fuller understanding of God. May I never stop crying and never forget those moments of hope and understanding.