Friday, February 22, 2008

The Fellowship and the Ring, part 3: The Finale

Here's the third and last installment of my "Trilogy of the Ring." If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are links to the rest of the story:

The Fellowship and the Ring, part 1
The Fellowship and the Ring, part 2

All three parts in one place: Trilogy of the Ring

All the way out to the car, which was a lot shorter than it sounds, I was praying hard. Please let him buy that ring for me. Please let it be for me! Praying variations on PLEASE while Hubby opened my door, let me in, shut my door, walked around the car, opened his door, got in, started the engine, put his hand on the shift lever.

And then he stopped and looked at me. "Let's talk," he said.

My heart stopped, and then jumped. "About what?"

"You really want that ring, don't you?"

I nodded, imploring with the biggest beagle eyes I could manage. And then caught myself. Be an adult, I told myself, not a begging child. I swallowed.

"Yes," I said. "I really do. It would be like getting my old rings back, and you know how much I've missed them, even though it's been all these years. It just seems right. It's my size-- and you know how unlikely that is. It's the exact size and shape of my diamond, the one we picked out together. It's cheap!"

He sat thinking. "Then I think that ring needs to go home with us. Sound good?"

I think I could hear angels singing. I resisted the urge to scream, and jump up and down. "Yeah. I think so."

Later Hubby told me that he honestly did not get it. He had no intimation that there was any significance to this incident, until we were in the car, and suddenly realization hit him in his midriff. If it was important to his wife, it was important to him, and even if it ended up costing a thousand dollars, that ring was going home with us! Tell me God doesn't answer prayer.

We went back in, marched up to the jewelry counter, and said we wanted that ring. He sold it to us for $60, instead of $65. I'm not sure why, unless he was just thrilled to finally get anything at all for it. I mean, really, who wants somebody else's wedding ring. Why did they sell it? What story is behind it?

Plus, the ring has some wear on it-- somebody else's wear. It's not shiny and new anymore. But for me? Perfect. The ring had the wear on it that my original ring would have had on it by now if I'd had it all these years. And my ring would have had stories of its own. No-- this was just right.

I walked out feeling like a newlywed. I had a wedding ring again. Nevermind where I got it from-- it felt like I had MY ring back, only better.

We even decided to extend our day and go out to eat to celebrate. Nothing expensive, because that's how we started our married life-- frugal, inexpensive; counting relationships and people more important than money.

It was February 10, 2005. We announced our engagement on February 12, 1981.

The Fellowship Group had grown into meetings that had been nicknamed "The Barn" because we were using our barn/garage/workshop. We were no longer a group of half a dozen adults and as many children, but a group of twenty to thirty.

At a "Barn" meeting soon after I got my ring I found myself talking to a young woman, showing off my ring and telling her all about it. At the end of my story I told her, "It just seems interesting to me, that I got my new ring in February, which is the same month I got engaged all those years ago. But if God wanted to make such a coincidence, why didn't he have us buy the ring on February 12? Then it would have been a REALLY cool coincidence. Instead, we got it on the tenth; which is sort of cool, because we got married on October 10...."

The young woman stopped me and said, "That's easy: you got it in February, to commemorate your engagement, and on the tenth to commemorate your wedding. February for the diamond engagement ring; the tenth for the wedding band. Simple."

Fast forward a few months. (Months in which I wore my ring with great joy, and showed it off to anyone I thought might be interested.) See me sitting in a Barn meeting. GuitarGeek is playing his guitar. People are praying. I have my eyes open (don't tell my mom), staring at my hands, thinking hard about God, and listening, asking God to speak to me. Then I focus on my ring. Ah...such a beautiful ring. God is so good to restore to me my rings, even if I do end up watching the light twinkle and flash from the diamond during a prayer meeting.

The whole story went through my mind, as I sat admiring the ring in general, and the diamond in particular, and thanking God. Then the thought came to me. Why did God do that? I had prayed many times over the years for either a replacement ring, or for the longing for one to go away. (After all, what's a ring, really?) But God had done neither. And now, out of the blue, here it was. Why?

And quick as a wink, in that quiet prayer meeting, listening for God's voice, I heard the answer: It's your reward. You held fast. You conquered in the battle for your marriage. The ring is now tangible evidence of victory, and your reward. And see the diamond on the wedding band? You didn't have a diamond there before. Just a little something extra to say, "Well done."

The whole world, including my heart, stopped for one eternal moment. I thought I would weep. But instead, I laughed.

Epilogue: October 10, 2007, we celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary. We made it to the plate!


PrayerMom said...


I'm on my way back to Mary's. We will probably all sit down and read this together when Gretchen gets there. We maybe can't personally relate to the fabulous marriage end of things, but we recognize God when He shows up to restore.

LovelyDaughter said...

I love your story!

Cricket's Hearth said...

I love your story and your sharing it! I also want to say - YOU'RE IT! - you have been tagged, please stop by and get the rules.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

LOVE, love, love it! My sister and I were just recently talking about how often our prayers don't get answered the way we want until AFTER we have proved that we mean it when we say, "Thy will be done." You deserve to have a ring that symbolizes all you have done to keep your marriage going and I'm so happy that you have it!

Kari & Kijsa said...

FABULOUS...I kept reading...and reading...and are an incredible writer...just wanted to stop by and say thank you for all the sweet birthday wishes...

Have a blessed and wonderful day...

smiles, kari (& kijsa)

slouching mom said...

that is the sweetest, most romantic story.

carrie said...

That's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sniz said...

I had to go back and read the whole story. This is such an amazing story makes me cry. I'm so, so glad you shared it.

Ornery's Wife said...

I am glad I read parts two and three together. I'd have been really in suspense waiting for the end! :-) (I almost always read the ending of a book to see how it ends after I have gotten about 1/3 through. I often forget how it ends by the time I get to it again, and of course it means more sense then, but I just HAVE to know it all comes out okay, or I won't read the book!)