In my life few showers go uninterrupted. This one must be savored. I breathe in the rising steam and look down at my wedding ring- a silver band inscribed in Hebrew. The conviction to never remove it is inexplicably replaced by curiosity to examine it. I slide the ring from my hand and roll it between my thumb and index finger. Words!
I had forgotten.
My husband and I just celebrated our tenth anniversary. How impossibly a decade has passed. Now my mind is tumbling backwards through the years; passed the children, and the pets, and the many places we’ve lived. Back to his apartment where we sit on the floor. He suggests that we engrave the inside of our rings. A reminder for when we might want to give up on each other, pull the promise from our hand- from our hearts, and lay it down. We decide on five simple virtues.
Love, Faith, Grace, Truth, Humility
Now the band lies flat in the palm of my hand and begs a question, “Have you forgotten to live it?” The truth is that when we chose those word I was naive; blissfully, unavoidably naive. In my mind said virtues were ornamental; rare vases on the mantle of life. But there is nothing ornamental about God love. It’s as messy and as common as clay. Things like grace and humility are the daily bricks of a strong marriage. I slip the ring back on my finger and smile in relief.
I have not forgotten.
Ten years of marriage has netted me both a lover and friend. He regularly leaves me in awe and I am perhaps even happier now than I was then. But this I have learned: without great attentiveness the heart that overflows with accolades and admiration can easily become a storehouse of fears and failed expectations. Loving deeply is messy. Virtues are simple enough but the application is hard and routine. Come to think of it- I best fulfill the standard of those words, not when I see love as clay in my hands, but when I realize that I am clay in the hands of Love.
… but it will take another uninterrupted shower to think on that one.