The other day, while out at breakfast with friends, I noticed one of them wearing a really beautiful engagement ring. She has been married for a couple of years now…so the ring wasn’t the news of the day or anything. It’s just that I happened to notice it, and to think of my own beautiful engagement ring…which has been tucked away for over four years now, on account of the whole not-married-anymore thing.

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I really love my ring…or at least, I did

I did when I said, “I do.”

It was bright and beautiful, just like I hoped my marriage would be.

Funny, I don’t remember taking it off for the last time to stow it away. This seems a little sad in hindsight, like it should have been as impactful a moment as the one in which I first slid it on.

I decided that when I got home, I was going to dig it out and wear it again. I could wear it on my right hand.  Why not? It seemed like a waste to keep such a beautiful piece of jewelry hidden away.

After all, it is just a thing – a material object…

Except when it isn’t.

My mother has been wearing my father’s wedding band since he passed away over a year ago. My recently widowed friend is wearing her husband’s ring as well, on a chain around her neck. These things mean something beautiful when they represent a love that has endured.

So…what of a love that hasn’t?

I’ll admit, I had the whole blog post drafted in my head before I even dug out the ring…I would write about how I am so evolved and healed now (insert eye roll) that when I look at this beautiful ring, I am only reminded of the beautiful parts of my marriage. Ah yes, I would celebrate the love with which the ring was given (and received) by wearing it proudly.

Then I put it on…and that lasted about an hour, tops.

As much as I can reflect on my marriage and fully appreciate the beautiful bits (especially the two beautiful bits tucked into their beds as I write this)…for me, my ring now symbolizes hurt, disappointment, failure, confusion, mistrust, sadness….hypocrisy.

These are not feelings I wish to conjure every time I look down at my hand….regardless of whether it is the left hand or the right.

I have done a lot of inner work and healing over the past few years. When I look at the person I married, oddly (and gratefully) he does not evoke in me the same negative feelings conjured by the ring. We’ve moved on. We parent well together, and we still laugh quite a bit. There is love.

But that ring…ugh.

I just can’t imagine a day when that ring is going to conjure happy thoughts for me. It’s sad but true…that once bright and beautiful, now tarnished, ring can never again be just a thing.

Not to me.

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