Lost and Found
I’m not good with jewelry. I know this because I’ve been married for almost 20 years, and I’ve owned seven wedding rings. Two platinum bands and five silicon rubber. If marriage vows depended on the ring, then I would be out of luck.
The first wedding band I lost was at Disney World. I vaguely remember taking it off before jumping into the cold water of the hotel pool. I worried my fingers would shrink and the ring would fall off. It must have fallen out of the bag somewhere around the pool. Disney vacations are expensive; that one was even more so.
I bought another ring a few months later. Not too surprisingly, the Shane Company had a perfect match at almost twice the price. I shouldn’t have told my “lost ring” story to the salesman. Wedding ring prices increase corresponding to the level of a husband’s carelessness. At the end of the day, I had a replacement ring, and all was good.
Later that week, I asked a local jeweler to engrave a phrase on the band to help identify my ring if I lost it again. I probably should have inscribed something like “True love forever” or “Just the beginning”. A bible verse reference like “1 Corinthians 13” might have been sweet. However, I decided to be practical and perhaps less inspirational. I told the jeweler to engrave my name and cellphone number on the inside.
Unfortunately, I lost wedding ring number two about a year ago. I think it flew off my finger while throwing a baseball on a cold day on the parsonage front yard. I searched for that ring in the grass on my hands and knees for an hour or more. Later I borrowed a metal detector and scanned the yard. Like the worried woman who lost a silver coin in Luke Chapter 15, I frantically did my best to find my ring. Sadly, it was gone.
My Valentine’s Day gift that year was a $20 pack of five silicon rubber rings of various colors. Of those five, I’ve lost two…nobody cares. Like I said, I’m not good with jewelry, but I’m still married.
Thankfully, the covenant of marriage is not based on a ring, a house, or other material things. Leigh and I strive to base our relationship on unconditional love, which reflects our belief in God’s unconditional love. At weddings, I say, “rings are the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace signifying to all the uniting of this couple in holy marriage.” Rings are just outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace. I’m grateful my relationship with my wife is more precious than a piece of metal on my finger. I believe there is more rejoicing in heaven over “inward and spiritual grace” than outward symbols like rings. God’s love is unconditional for us. Thanks be to God!
However, the story is not over.
Last Thursday I received a text from the pastor who followed me at my last church appointment. The text read, “Did you lose a ring once upon a time while putting up or taking down Christmas decorations in the sanctuary?” Praise God, the engraving on the ring worked!!! Apparently, a worship volunteer was packing up garland and saw a ring in the bottom of the box. He examined it and saw my name and phone number and knew whose it was. I’m proud to say that today, “what was once lost is now found.”