a dull sparkle?

as i was brushing my teeth tonight, i noticed my wedding ring. at one time it had sparkled and shone, but tonight, i noticed it was really dull and darkened. i quickly cleaned it up and was amazed at how willing it was to shine again. and since i can't keep myself from thinking of life as a series of analogies, i of course began to think of how symbolic my treatment of this ring is towards my marriage.

i don't ever really forget the ring is there. it's lived on my finger for over 12 years now and even as my hands grow more wrinkled and tired, it will remain there - Lord willing. i move it around quite a bit. since i indulge in just about every other nervous habit oriented around my hands, it's only natural that i would also spin and fidget with my ring.

when my hands are cold, i often switch my engagement ring to my right hand and wear both rings separated. when i do that, i quickly remember how it felt to wear that engagement ring. i would stare at it all the time - knowing the lifetime promises were going to quickly follow my receiving it.

when it's hot, my fingers swell and it becomes impossible to take the rings off.
when i play with the kids, i turn the ring around so that the diamond is sideways so that i won't scratch them. my wedding rings are the only piece of jewelry that i've owned that actually have any value. (and there you have another possible analogy.)

i feel quite sentimental about it all right now.

tonight, i watched the bachlorette. (yes, i am a scumbag and i watch that show from time to time; you may think whatever you'd like of me.) though I get caught up in the fairytale of it all, i often wonder and worry about how these couples will fare after it all ends. how could you possibly succeed after all of the dramatic romance and perfectly orchestrated dates are no longer the norm, and real life sets in? and it made me think of how sometimes that is how our own engagements and dating can be. so much romance and excitement and then, before you know it, you find yourself 12 years and four kids later in the midst of a very real life and the hands that are wearing those rings are just a little more worn out looking. ironically, my own experience of marriage and love involves so much more reality than the reality show.

but tonight, right now, my ring is shining.
and when i think of the man whose finger i also placed a ring on back then, my heart shines a bit too.

but maybe his awareness of these feelings of mine is lost somewhere in the daily living. perhaps the requests of "please take the kids somewhere" or "could you do the dishes/laundry/etc" crowd out affectionate expressions. maybe the love i have for him appears somewhat dull to him. perhaps like my ring, it needs a little shine from time to time.

i think i can take care of this ring a little better. and i think i can create a little more sparkle in my marriage as well. and i will.

but right now, i'm delighting in the comfort of the permanency of it all. i'm finding pleasure in the indention that remains under my rings and finding pleasure in my promise to walk this life with this man. and just as the ring has become quite a part of my actual hand, my husband has become a part of my actual being.
i can't imagine life without him.

(photos taken in atlanta, march 2009 by my friend keri walker)