My engagement ring is not huge or terribly fancy—but it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen when it first took up residence on my finger more than a decade ago.
Before we were engaged, my husband and I shopped together to “get an idea” of the right style and cut, but the purchasing was left up to him. He shelled out what seemed, at the time, to be an outrageous amount of money, and presented it to me rather unceremoniously (spoiler alert: not all proposals are out of movie scripts) a short time later.
I love it. It’s unpretentious. Understated. Just the right amount of unusual (kind of like me).
This ring made me all mushy inside every time I caught a glimpse of its sparkle. I twirled it around my finger this way and that, just to see the way it glittered from every angle.
I probably looked at my engagement ring a thousand times a day back when it was new. I loved the way it sparkled in the sun, flecks of blue and yellow and green dancing in the delicate prism of the diamond. I marveled at how it gleamed in the warm light of the under-cabinet lights in my kitchen. I admired the way it rested just so on my fourth finger.
I used to clean it often, meticulously scrubbing the prongs and facets with the bristles of a tiny brush dipped in a vat of some unidentified pink cleaning juice.
Then we got married, and a handful of kids came along in rather short order. We moved a couple of times. Built a house. Fell into the inherently busy lifestyle raising a young family dictates.
And somewhere along the line, I stopped noticing the ring on my finger.
It caught my eye today though, as my hand rested on the wheel of our standard-issue minivan, waiting outside the school for my older kids to emerge.
I couldn’t help but notice—it’s looking so very worn.
There’s caked-on mystery food stuck between the prongs, and goodness knows what else hiding in other crevices. There’s a layer of grime dulling the diamond that used to be perpetually brilliant and clear. There are tiny scratches and dings peppering the slim bands, evidence of near-constant wear year after marital year.
It’s more precious today than on the hot August afternoon my other half slid it onto my finger.
This ring is so much more than just a piece of jewelry. It’s a token of the promise we made to each other all those years ago. It’s a still, small reminder of the millions of moments that have enriched our breathless vows and made them come alive in unexpected and beautiful ways.
This ring has weathered carefree happiness and sorrowful tears. Intense passion and bitter arguments. Joyful highs and desperate lows. And even though its objective beauty may be a bit tarnished by time, when I tilt it just right, I glimpse the magic within.
Because tucked inside this ring is commitment and love and promise and trust. A living, breathing life contained in a single precious stone.
From my view, that makes it—still—the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
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