Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fellowship and the Ring, part 1

In honor of Valentine's Day

Writing about tattooed wedding rings reminded me of a story I wanted to share about my wedding rings.

February 10 was an anniversary of sorts. In February of 1981, Hubby and I became officially engaged. We had known since the preceding October that we wanted to get married, but since we were freshman at a conservative Bible college we could not announce it, seeing as the college had a rule about freshman not getting engaged their first semester. And even in the second semester, couples had to have permission notes from their parents.

So I had my engagement ring, but we waited till second semester before I wore it publicly, and then, after I'd had my candle-passing. If you don't know, a candle-passing was an informal ceremony, where all the girls in my dorm were invited to gather in the huge attic to sit in a circle and pass around a lighted candle with my engagement ring on it. Every one could admire it, and try to guess whose it was, till it got to me, and I blew out the flame to announce it was mine. There were usually several candle-passings every year announcing engagements.

I loved my ring. It was a plain gold, medium wide band, with a small marquis diamond. I was especially proud of it when I went back home for the summer, before our wedding in October of that year. It was a tangible symbol of my upcoming marriage, and my relationship with Hubby, who was oh so far away, despite frequent phone calls.

At our wedding Hubby added a thin gold plain band to the diamond ring.

A few years later, we were on a visit to Kansas City to see my relatives. We had GuitarGeek by then, as well as LovelyDaughter, who was a baby. I had gotten pretty thin, and my rings were loose, and somehow, somewhere-- probably at gas station-- I lost the diamond engagement ring. We went back and asked if anyone had found them, but of course, no one knew anything. I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing.

I had hoped Hubby would replace them, but he said he bought me a diamond ring once. He didn't see the point in doing it again. (Don't be too hard on him. Five hundred dollars --what we originally paid-- was money we didn't have at that time for a new ring.)

But I felt so lost without my diamond. Once I bought an opal ring to wear as a substitute. I had it soldered to my wedding band, and I was so excited, I couldn't sleep for days, till the ring was ready. It was beautiful.

Then, not long after, I accidentally hit my hand on something, and cracked the opal in the ring. The opal fell to pieces, and I had to retire the ring, but it took my wedding band with it, and I had nothing.

One year, I made a long trip to attend my great-grandmother's funeral. I went alone as far as Kansas City, and met up with relatives there to continue the journey. On the way I made up my mind to buy some sort of ring, just to have a sign on my hand that I was a married woman. That may sound strange, but it was the first major trip I'd taken without Hubby, and somehow it seemed more secure if I had a ring. I wore that ten dollar silver ring for a long time.

Then we hit a time period where several of our friends were getting divorces. It was tough, watching relationships break up, and it was not pretty, easy, or fun for any of them. About that time, something began happening to me, and I found that everything Hubby did irked me. In fact, I didn't like him anymore, at all, and I found myself fantasizing about going off on my own. What kind of job could I get? Where would I live? What would it be like to have my own life, for once, without a husband, without kids, without responsibilities? I know, "without responsibilites" was a total lie, but hey, no one said deception makes sense.

Also about that time, we were part of a group we called our "fellowship group"-- a few families who got together once a week to worship God and pray for each other. In fact, it was a couple of those families who were going through divorce. I began sharing with them what I was feeling, and those guys (literally guys-- the women had bailed out of the group) gathered around and prayed for me many times. Times when I didn't think I could stand the pressure, whatever it was, wherever it came from, to give up on my marriage and my husband and my family. Deep inside, I knew this wasn't what I really wanted, but something was pushing me, hard.

But those guys prayed, and prayed fervently, that our marriage would not suffer the same fate as theirs. One day near Christmas Hubby and I went Christmas shopping. We were miserable; I, because I was miserable, and Hubby, because I was. On the way, we happened to go past Swede's house, who was part of the group, and we saw the cars there of the other guys. On an impulse, we stopped in.... be continued.


Brenda ND said...

You got me. I want to know what happened next? I'm hoping for a happy Valentine's Day ending.

PrayerMom said...

I've heard the story, but I don't remember all of it.

For some reason, I remember more about the plate (or am I giving things away here?).

Ornery's Wife said...

Man, that was just MEAN to leave me hanging here like that! Obviously it all ended well, but you have such a way of reeling me in!

Sniz said...

so what happened next? I guess I should read your next posts. I missed a lot! :-(