Today I went to Atkins Jewelers in Acworth. I have been thinking about having my wedding band engraved for a few months now. So today I took it in and they engraved the following on the inside: “Tom + Julia 7/11/71 – Forever”. It looks nice. I can feel it and read it if the light is right. If I take the ring off I can feel the engraving with my fingertips when I rub the inside of the ring. But on the outside nothing has changed, it looks just the same. When people see me, they think I’m still married. I think I’m still married. It’s just that Julia is not here. Sometimes it is like she is on a long trip, maybe at the girls. I almost expect her to come through the door back home. But that won’t happen, at least not in this life.
To me the wedding ring has always symbolized commitment. I’ve worn one for so long it is like it’s a part of my hand. Julia always used to get on to me for slipping it on and off my finger. It’s like I was playing with it, and sometimes it did get me in trouble. I cam remember dropping it on the floor in church. Yes, I think I was pretty bored that day. It hit the floor and bounced and rolled about three rows back. It mad a lot of noise. I was more worried about the noise and what Julia was thinking (not good) than I was about getting it back. Everybody heard it, and it was passed back to me rather quickly. I often think of Frodo in Lord of the Rings. He had a hard time with the ring also. But his problem was he wanted to put it on and not taking it off. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t play with it because I wanted to take it off, I just liked to play with it. It is definitely a habit that probably should have been broken years ago. I still find myself playing with it. When people start asking me questions about my wife and I answer them it gets hard. It’s not really hard for me except for watching them squirm. But that is hard. So, I know that someday I will put the ring on a chain around my neck. But then I really will be like Frodo, because I will probably be putting it on instead of taking it off.
A ring also symbolizes infinity. The closed circle goes on and on. And so the ring really symbolizes infinite commitment. And that is where I am. More and more I am coming to despise the phrase in the traditional wedding vows; “till death do us part”. If you are both believers, death doesn’t part anything. Sure, there might be a “long trip” where one of you is out of town for an extended period of time. But in the end you will be reunited. Either Julia or I will someday come walking through the door of eternity and we will be together again. How does that work? I don’t know, and I am certainly not going to speculate. I do know that I have a big God and He can make anything work. I don’t have to think it all out rationally. It will work. So, if my commitment to Julia is forever like I believe it is, what does that mean for me while I’m still here on the earth? How does all this work out? Can I ever remarry or will I stay single for the rest of my life?
Well according to scripture I believe it is perfectly right for me to remarry if I choose to. I know many men, including my dad who has remarried after losing a spouse. I am thankful that my dad remarried. He has been wonderfully blessed. Many other men have been blessed as well. But that doesn’t mean that I have to remarry. I know many others who have chosen not to remarry. So, where am I going with this tonight? Will I ever remarry? Maybe. Will I never remarry? Maybe. Right now my only focus is on my relationship with Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I’m sure that they will guide me in any decision that the future may hold. Of course today I have no desire to remarry. But I know that things change so I am willing to adapt to the perfect will of God in my life. But it will have to be His will, and I will need clear guidance. But even if I did remarry someday, that will never change my love or commitment to Julia. In fact, that commitment would probably only strengthen the commitment that I had for my new spouse.
So, no matter what the future holds, the ring is still symbolic. It’s still a symbol of infinite commitment or commitment forever, there is no “until death us do part”. They ought to take that out of the vows.