Sunday, September 27

She Said Yes: A Three-Part Philosophy of Engagement Rings

This is a philosophy of engagement rings that I had published while in college in our university publication, Lumen Vincens. I came across this recently, while de-cluttering my life, and enjoyed revisiting it tremendously. It captured the excitement and delight of an engaged woman so perfectly. I will blog this essay in three installments. Enjoy!

She turned and discovered him, bent on one knee. His hand was shaking, as he nervously smiled and held out a white box. In this box shone a stunningly beautiful ring, the likes of which she had never seen. Overwhelmed by excitement, a tad nervous, yet still calm, she knew the moment she had been dreaming of had arrived. She waited expectantly to hear those four incomparable words: will you marry me?

Incredible, how in one moment, the life of a young woman is changed forever. A “yes” is spoken, a fiat made. A ring is placed upon her finger, and the world quickly discovers something significant, something extraordinary has occurred. This ring becomes a material symbol of a spiritual bond between two hearts who make this commitment to a life lived in love. The diamond may or may not last forever. But the love it symbolizes, with God’s grace, can endure through trial and triumph.

This is a simple philosophy of the diamond ring, sprung from the ponderings of an engaged young lady who cannot keep from contemplating her own ring. It will not answer life’s deeper questions regarding existence or meaning. It will not win any Noble Peace Prizes or reveal in a lightning flash the vocation of a discerning heart. But perhaps, this little inquiry into the significance of a ring given and received will accomplish a smaller task, as a vehicle into deeper understanding of the gift of love itself.

Let us begin with the ring as a whole. Every ring has a circular shape, which allows it to slide easily upon a trembling finger. This circular shape is indicative of eternity, of enduring faithfulness and love, of perseverance. Two semicircles are fused together, creating one inseparable circle: in love, two hearts come together, ensconced in the greater love of the Lord, and become one. The ring is given with the intent that it will be worn for a lifetime, a second indication of the permanence of the bond and the endurance of love.

This ring is no mere trinket or token, but is a gift made priceless by its beauty, its intrinsic value, and the value imputed to it by the giver. The ring represents the totality of the giver. He gives his entire self in symbol through the ring. She accepts his totality, and in return(,) promises her own. These offerings of self are made without condition: the promise of perfection or perpetual happiness cannot be extended with certainty. Both man and woman know their faults and weaknesses, and that of the other. They love anyways, give themselves anyways, because they know a higher Love guides and perfects their own.

This higher Love too is reflected in the placement of the engagement ring on the third finger. Three fingers, three members of the Holy Trinity: the third finger represents the Spirit of God, the Spirit that is Love. The love of God is as a perpetual fountain flowing into two glasses, refreshing and refilling without end, allowing ever-expanding ability to love. 

To be continued...

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1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize all that I was giving that day, just as I am still discovering each day the beauty and joy of marraige and family. It is so amazing how we can ascribe meaning to object, to make them speak a deeper language which words cannot properly express.


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