I have mentioned it before but I like photography. It is just a hobby but I enjoy it and I get a lot out of it. Ironically, this week in my group we are doing circles, a more abstract theme than usual. Why would it be ironic? Because on Sunday (or maybe even Saturday night), I lost my wedding set. What was once lost is now found, so no worries, but it gave me a lot of heartache.
That right there is my three piece wedding set. I have sensitive skin and sometimes I need to take off my rings and put some cream on my hands and let them rest overnight. I have a little wooden box from Poland that was given to me by a dear family friend when I was a child and usually I put them in there. Saturday night I decided to just loop them over the cord to the cross on my neck. I have done it before and the rings never slipped off but for whatever reason, I lost my rings while I slept. I realized when we went out to the van. I ran back in and looked in the bed but I only found my plain wedding band and my engagement ring. No anniversary band anywhere to be seen. I went off to Liturgy and was heartbroken. I said a little prayer to St Phanourios and lit a candle and hoped for the best.
When I didn't find it on Sunday, I basically tore my room apart. Then I appealed to the children. I promised them later bedtimes, video-games, homemade cake, ice cream, basically anything that I thought would convince them to look. Look they did but it didn't matter. No ring. In the end, it was not the plain gold band that was blessed by the priest at my wedding. It wasn't the modest diamond engagement ring. The diamond in the ring was given to us by my mother-in-law from a ring my father-in-law had given her and the first but most certainly not the last generous gift from her. She has always treated me like her own child. Once about a dozen years ago I knocked my hand on a doorway and knocked out the diamond which was quickly found in just minutes but I was hysterical. It was not about the money or the value, it is fairly modest. It was because it was a gift from my mother-in-law to both my husband and to me. I now have the prongs checked regularly and had them rebuilt last summer. No, it was the tiny anniversary band.
In the end it was unreasonable for me to be so upset so I tried to calm myself down. It was the two more important rings. Still, that little anniversary band which was so small and so inexpensive. It was a tiny luxury at a time when we were ridiculously poor with kids to feed and my husband in graduate school. I was pregnant for the second time since our wedding and it was just our first anniversary. I think we spent just $100. In the end, that is such a tiny amount but for us at the time it was a serious investment. As Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and even Wednesday went by with no sign of the ring, I began to worry it would never be found. My husband reassured me that he could buy me another one, that we could do it for our next anniversary. I didn't want another ring. I wanted my ring. I wanted the one we bought back when we didn't have money for movies or dinner out and our dates we walks in the park. I wanted to look at it and remember the first year of this glorious marriage that has brought me closer to my husband and closer to God. I just wanted my own ring back. There was a little part of me that was afraid that we would replace it and then find it and I would have a little dalliance on my hand instead of the original.
But then, this morning I was sitting on the bed and talking about the day with my husband while he finished dressing for work and I looked down next to my bed. There it was, just sitting there next to the bed in the open area between it and my desk, as if it had been waiting all along. There was my ring. So. I said a prayer to St. Phanourios and asked the kids to pray for his mother and I baked a cake for him. In the busy patterns of a morning with work and school and books and barn chores and snow and a windchill of -14F I stopped and spent the time to make the cake. I made it with almonds and Swedish sugar and Lemoncello instead of the usual Brandy or Whiskey and the very last of my clementine oranges from the basket on the table. It was fragrant and delicious. I cut slices for the children and asked them to come celebrate with me, just like the woman in Jesus' parable who celebrated with everyone around her when she found her coin. I ate my cake with my little ring of gold around my finger and she celebrated with her little circle of silver, one that represented in its own meager way the entire wealth of her family.
Come celebrate with me for what was lost is now found.