Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Rings

Today, a friend of mine was teaching Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" and shared her own personal jewelry story with the students. She later shared the story with me. I'll try to do it justice.

Years ago, she had some rings. The rings were her only possessions of real value, and she admits she had a certain degree of vanity about them.

One day, she couldn't find the rings. Frantically, she searched for them, tearing her house apart from top to bottom. They were nowhere to be found. My friend was devastated. The rings meant so much to her, and she just couldn't understand how in the world they dissappeared. She obsessed over the rings, desperate to find them.

Eventually, she said she grew angry about losing the rings. Furthermore, she was mad at God. God knew where her rings were; why didn't He help her find them? Why didn't He reveal them to her? Come on, God! Cut me some slack, she thought.

Eventally her anger passed, replaced by humility. She had no right to be angry at God. Perhaps God was teaching her a lesson. Okay, God, she thought, teach me my lesson. What do you want me to learn through the loss of my rings. But even then, she more or less bargained with God, expecting him to return her rings once said lesson was learned.

Several months passed. She accepted that the rings were just gone. She began to move on, to heal from the disspointment of losing something that meant so much to her.

Then one day, she found the rings. They were tucked away in an interior zipped pocket of her purse... where she had placed them. All those months they had been with her on a daily basis, hanging from her shoulder.

I left school, thinking about her story. There was something in her simple tale that spoke to me. I started pondering my own "rings," the valuable things in my life that sometimes dissparar for a period of time.

Joy. Passion. Patience. Peace.

When I dip into life's valley's, how often do I turn my face toward God, angry or accusative? How can You let me be so sad? Why don't you heal my relationships? Why did you create me to be so anxious? Why shouldn't I be angry when you gave me these feelings?

I am so guilty of blaming God when I lose those things that are precious to me. And I am often demanding when I ask him to "fix" me.

But God doesn't take away my joy, he doesn't deprive me of peace. It is not God's hand that dampens my passion or robs me of patience. No, He has blessed me with those gifts. He has placed them in my heart. It is I who lose them, who burines them so deep that I forget where I placed them. I allow the world to convince me there is no hope, to drag me down into complacency and misery. My beautiful rings gather dust and tarnish... and so does my spirit.

At my darkest times, my rings are tucked away in my pocket, waiting for me to reach for them, to remember where I placed them. All I have to do is put them on and to accept the merciful blessings I have been given as a child of God.

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