A few years ago, I was in the shower sudsing up my hair, when I looked down at my left hand and noticed that the diamond in my wedding ring was gone. Only the bare metal prongs stood where my mother’s beautiful pear-shaped jewel had been not long before.
At first, my heart raced as I tried to solve the question of where it could be. Down the drain? Under the fridge? In a dusty corner of the house? In the garden?
But try as we might, Big and I were not successful in locating the diamond in the coming days.
It was disappointing, of course. I didn’t know the jewel’s carat weight and material value, as I had never had it appraised, but that wasn’t the point. It had been a gift from my mother at the time of our engagement, and we considered it among the most valuable things we owned.
We live a simple life and own very few possessions of much material worth. We figured that my wedding ring, our cloth diapers, and a front-loading washer and dryer set were the most expensive items we owned (we hadn’t bought Thor’s Hammer at this point and were going vehicle-free).
And we joked that out of this motley handful of “valuables,” it was a good thing that at least two items I’d either be wearing or have packed in the diaper bag if a fire broke out!
But here we were, the diamond lost. Strangely though, I wasn’t as distraught as I had expected. I shed a couple tears over the waste of it and called my mom.
“I’m so sorry, I have some bad news,” I began.
“Oh no, it’s not the baby?” she immediately answered. I patted my round, seven-month-along belly and smiled. Nothing like Mamaw to put it all into perspective.
After that, I set aside my now gem-less wedding ring and instead wore a little band with “Love” carved into it that Big and I had picked up years before in Durango for $7.00. And we went about our life, welcoming baby number two, Firebell, a couple months later.
But a funny thing happened a year and a half later when we were jettisoning most of our stuff, about to leave our comfortable little rented house and jump into the tiny house adventure.
Against all odds, the diamond turned up.
It was late at night, and Big and the babies were asleep. We were set to move out only three days hence, and I was up working hard at packing the last of the boxes. We had sold dozens of items on Craigslist, the last of which, a heavy guest bed, had departed that morning.
I tiptoed upstairs to the guest room, sighing at the labor ahead. But there, sparkling in the middle of the floor was the diamond!
Wait – was that truly the same diamond, or was it just a fake plastic jewel or a glittery piece of confetti? I had never seen it out of its setting, but as I knelt down to pick it up, there could be no doubt. I shook my head and smiled.
So what life lessons did I learn from this little episode? After all, it was a singular learning experience (at least I hope so!) pertaining to our relationship to our stuff . . .
- It feels good to be free of the clutches of materialism.
- I am able to replace or do without virtually any thing.
- It does not have to be devastating when you lose even your most precious possession.
- People are so much more important than things. And we should live our lives as such.
- Sometimes, lost opportunities, friends, or even jewels serendipitously come back around into our lives.
- And sometimes, as hard as we search, they do not. But life flows on, and we have the choice of how we feel about it and what we pursue next, because of, or in spite of, this loss.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”