Sunday, July 31, 2011

with this ring . . .

Marriage is a life long commitment not to be taken lightly.  It is not a "ring," or even a ceremony, it is a life shared.  It is a "for better or worse" perspective that gets worked out daily in the kitchen, family room, AND even the garage.  It is a life spent sharing, caring, forgiving, and living.

For the past several years I have played around with the idea of not wearing my wedding band ring.  Not sure why, it has just been one of those things that I think about occasionally.  The ring does not make me married.  It certainly is a symbol, but it has nothing to do with my attitude or perspective about marriage.  It is just a ring.  And a ring that has lots of dings and scrapes in it as well!

Recently I have been taking my ring off when I am working on my etsy chalkboard orders so as to not scratch the surface of the chalkboards when I am wiping them off before I ship them.  I had to do something because it was too hard for me to try to cup my hand and wipe off hundreds of mini chalkboards always afraid that my ring will scratch the surface, and I would have to make that one chalkboard or so over again. I hate doing the same work twice.  I have been putting it in my pocket when I wipe the boards off and then when I clean up from being in the wood shop, I put it back on.  Until the other day.

I was finishing some boards up and washed my hands with some cleaner I had in the garage.  I reached in my pocket and got my ring out and dropped it on the concrete floor.  No big deal, I have done that before.  Only this time instead of putting it on my finger, I just returned it to my pocket.

The boys and I took off to town to drop off my orders at the post office, and we and needed to run some errands while we were in town.  We went to several places from coffee shops to hardware stores and our last stop was an auto shop store to buy a belt for the mower.  It was when we left the store, and I was reaching in my pocket to get my keys out, that I realized that I had lost my ring.  I wasn't shocked at first thinking that I might have left it in a different pair of pants.  I then remembered that I had specifically left it in my pocket after I dropped it in the shop.  My stomach did a little flip.

On the way home I tried to convince myself that I did not lose it, but in fact, I did.  I tried to justify not having it thinking that I was planning on not wearing it anyway, so it wouldn't matter.  I told myself that I bought it over 19 years ago and it wasn't that expensive, so I could easily replace it.  After all, people often upgrade wedding rings don't they?  But still I had that little pit in my stomach that I had lost my wedding band.  What a bummer. :(

When we got home and were sitting at the supper table I told the children that I had lost my ring.  There was more than one sigh.  I reassured them that it wasn't that big a deal and things like this happen sometimes.  A couple of the children asked me questions about when I had it last, and a couple left the dinner table to check out in the wood shop and the van one more time.  I was sure it was lost.  And probably not where I would find it again.

About half way through supper Nolan asked if he could take the van back to town to look in the parking lots for it.  He said it would make him feel better of he tried to find it.  I agreed, and off he went.  When he came home, it was without the ring.

Fast forward to three days later.  I was up 40 foot on a ladder hanging a FOUTFOLK FARM sign on the horse barn and I hear a faint, shaky voice from afar saying "daddy can you come down please?"  I turned and see Macy walking towards me clutching her hand together and repeating that she wants me to come down from the ladder.  With that kind of voice, and that kind of clutching, I begin to think that she has cut herself really badly and has that panicking kind of reaction to how badly she is hurt.

I rush down the ladder, Macy opens her hand, and she says in that same shaky, and yet excited voice this time, "I found your ring."  FOUND MY RING!  I couldn't believe it!  31 acres we live on.  I had traveled 20 or so miles that day and stopped at several places, and she she has found my ring!  What are the odds!

She then told me that she was walking around the side of the house off the patio and was looking at the ground as she was walking along.  She said she had no idea why she was studying the ground as she walked but she was noticing every detail of the grasses, walnuts, and twigs that were on the ground.  And then she noticed a shiny golden ring.  Her eye was just drawn to it.  And she immediately called to find out where I was to tell me that she had it.

I am still in shock that of the many places I could have lost it that day, I lost it here on the farm.  And I am even more shocked that in the larger perspective of it, the likelyhood of finding a lost ring SOMEWHERE on a 31 acre farm, even if I thought I had lost it here on the farm, is virtually impossible.  It truly is a needle in a hay stack analogy!

The older I get the more I try not to read too deeply into situations.  I am not a hocus pocus type of person.  Losing a ring is not a "sign" of anything.  It is a careless mistake, that's it.  And finding the ring also is not a "sign" of anything either.  It is just finding a ring.  However, I am grateful to God for His grace for me and my family, and I am thankful to Macy for taking the time to study the ground as she was walking that day.

I think when I take my ring off tomorrow to work on chalkboards again I am going to put it on my etsy business desk so as to not lose it again.  :)


LauraT said...

What's really interesting is how concerned your children were over your lost ring. Your wedding ring clearly means a lot to them. And I'm sure they were praying and God cared about what matters to them. I would NEVER take my wedding band off or not wear it for any length of time, especially not in public. I like the protective aspect of it that says, "She's married bozo! Stay away from her!"

Anonymous said...

Before I make any comments, judgement or just plain state my opinion I have several questions for you.
1. Does your wife wear her wedding ring?
2. How do you think she would/does feel if/when you take the ring off?
3. As the previous post stated, your kids clearly seemed concerned about the loss of your ring. How do you think your kids would react if you decided to altogether stop wearing your ring?

foutfolk said...

Laura . . . especially out where you live! :)

Here the cow and horses don't even notice that I have one! :)

Anonymous . . .

1. Yes
2. To be honest . . . somewhat indifferent.
3. I think they would certainly want an explanation, but would understand if I had a clear reason to stop wearing it.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean when you say "indifferent?" Well I guess if you had a clear reason... but, what would apply as a clear reason. I completely understand your reasoning to take off your ring while you are working. I take off my ring while I'm doing the dishes. But, I always put it back on!

It may not mean anything to you if you stopped wearing the ring but, it might (and I think most likely does) mean something to your family.

Rings are suppose to have "scraps and dings" and are signs that it is well worn. And people do update their rings. And that is perfectly fine. But, it appears to me that you aren't going to update your ring, you are going to take it off completely.

Like you said, a ring is a symbol or a reminder of your commitment to Ildi. By taking it off you are removing that reminder. Are you willing to risk forgetting that you are married?

Just somethings to think about....

foutfolk said...

Anonymous . . .

Good things to think about for sure. :)

I guess from the reading I have done on the origins of the wedding ring, and wearing jewelry in general made me question it. As well, the COUNTLESS people I see that have wedding rings on and yet don't really have the inward conviction of its meaning.

Certainly I am not one to judge anyone on their marriage committments. That is up to them to work out as Ildi and I do. I guess it is just the "ring" being the marriage, and not the relationship being the marriage that I struggle with. I don't want to over identify my marriage being the ring that I wear. The same way I don't think a certain shirt makes me a teacher.

Indifferent. Just that. Indifferent.

And I don't believe, whether I wear a ring or not, I could ever not remember that I am married. And it is not something I am going to forget either. How could I? In fact, I can't even remember ever being single! :)

I am not superstitious at all. When I am not wearing it, like the last several days when it was lost, I didn't feel "less" married than the days before. And now that I have it again, I am not relieved because I felt my marriage waver while I wasn't wearing it. I was just bummed because I hate losing things. :)

Anonymous said...

I hardly believe any women, let alone your wife, to be indifferent on a subject. And certainly not on such an important subject as this is.

The ring will only become the relationship if you let it. It should not inhibit your able to function in that relationship. And if you had issues with the idea of wearing of ring, you should have spoken up before you said I do.

To me, as an outside observer, the ring is not your issue. I believe that there is some bigger question that you are trying to answer. Some bigger problem you are trying to work out with in yourself. This inner turmoil you feel is only a tremor to a much larger earthquake.

foutfolk said...

Anonymous . . .

It appears from your writing that you actually know my wife. You are right, she certainly has passion for many things. Currently it is knitting! :)

Familial relationships are rarely the same as relationships outside the family. There is a whole new dynamic when others are involved. We all show people on the outside the person we want them to beieve we are. We show our family who we really are. It is a safe place for us. Or at least should be. I only say this because it seems like you know her and you are questioning my love, care, appreciation, etc for her. You seemed to have grabbed onto a reason to "stick up" for her. Maybe you are just "sticking up" for women in general. I don't know.

This original post was about a ring that was lost . . . and then found. It was about God's grace and Macy finding it for me. You have seemed to "find" some reason to "defend" those who choose to wear rings. You have also chosen to use this post (by commenting) to question whether I have issues with being married. As if wearing a ring means a person is married.

In addition, it seems you have identified "a bigger problem" I am trying to work out. Of near earthquack magnitude! :)

With no rude intentions, do you know my favorite color by chance? Or Ildi's? What color are my eyes, Or hers? What types of things make me happy? Or make her happy.

And to wear or not to wear a ring . . . would that be considered "such an important subject" in a relationship? The physical adorning of the third finger of your left hand. Is it higher on the priority list than, for say, the way you speak to your spouse? Is it that important to you? Or better yet, is it that important to your husband? (assuming you are married)

LauraT said...

Anonymous: you sure seem awfully critical and judgmental of Garth.Why do you feel the need to make such pointed and strong judgements, and yet remain "anonymous"? What's it to you if Garth doesn't wear a wedding ring? That should be between Garth, Ildi, and God. Your comments seem rather strange and not very helpful. If you are noticing something that concerns you about his marriage, why not talk with him and Ildi privately? Or, just leave him alone!

foutfolk said...

You GO Laura! :)