Circles of Love

My daughter Abby got engaged last week.  The day before he proposed, her fiancé, Johnny, showed me a picture of the ring and told me of his plans to propose.  The picture did not do the ring justice. It is breathtakingly beautiful and is outshined only by the smile on my beautiful daughter’s face.  It is a series of circles, the symbol of love itself.  The center is a round aquamarine, and around it are two halos of tiny diamonds.  The two halos are like Johnny and Abby- two separate individuals, the aquamarine the blending of two colors- green and blue, like the melding of two lives to become one.

I never had an engagement ring.  We were VISTA volunteers in Idaho in the late seventies, and were paid $240 a month, plus food stamps.  Diamonds were not in the budget.  But for our wedding, my intended and I bought matching gold bands, engraved with floral filigree.  We began our search for rings in Boise, Idaho, where we were stationed, and found the set on display at the first jeweler we visited.  Immediately, we fell in love with the rings, but decided to continue our search, in case we found something we liked better.  After several more shopping trips, we decided to return to the original jewelry store.

My children’s father was a farm boy, with large hands and meaty fingers.  My hands are not small either, so when we asked to see the rings, we expected to find them both too small.  To our surprise, both rings fit our fingers perfectly.  We decided it was kismet and bought them on the spot.  When we exchanged them at our August wedding, we promised to wear them always, blissfully ignorant of the storms that awaited us.

For the next twenty-eight years we wore these golden vows, until Paul had a minor accident which flattened his ring.  His finger swelled painfully and it was obvious that the warped and twisted ring had to be cut off.  By this time our marriage was as troubled as his finger and as I wedged a ring cutter under the gold band, I noticed that the filigree had disappeared, worn smooth over the years.  It did not resemble the ring we bought at that little jewelry store in Idaho, any more than our marriage resembled the two young lovers who had purchased it.  As I gripped the cutter and snapped the ring in two, my eyes filled with silent tears, knowing that breaking the band that symbolized our union was a foreshadowing of the lonely nights ahead.

When we divorced I removed my wedding band and placed it in the padded protection of my jewelry box.  Occasionally I pick it up for a short moment, and then return it to the velvet lined case.  Like my marriage, I can no longer wear it, and yet I cannot bear to turn my back on it.  I tried a few days ago, when the rising price of gold enticed me to a jewelry store that purchases precious metal.  I thought I would sell the ring and use the cash to help out with Abby’s wedding expenses, and drove to a local jewelry store while trying to convince myself that it was only a useless circle of ore.  But the lump in my throat wouldn’t go away and when the jeweler told me that it was worth only a fraction of what we paid for it, I took it back home to lie in wait with the earrings and brooches that fill my jewelry box.

People often say that a wedding ring symbolizes the never-ending love of a husband and wife, but I believe it symbolizes the continuity of love itself.  The love symbolized in that gold band produced three beautiful children who will love three beautiful children who were produced by the love symbolized in a little gold wedding band.    Abby and John will love each other in a way that is as unique as the aquamarine ring that signifies their promise, but as traditional and continual as the love that produced their very existence.  It is the circle of love.  It is the circle of life.

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4 Comments

  1. Beautiful, G.

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  2. Martha-Jean

     /  August 24, 2011

    Amen

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  3. Thank you Garrie…beautiful post.

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  4. Elainen Dube

     /  August 26, 2011

    Congratulations to Abby and John. I pray that they will have years of happiness and love. Also, congratulations to you Garrie. Guess what will come next for you…grandbabies. It’ll be like having children again and they will bring you as much joy as your children did.

    Love,
    Elaine

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