My eyes crafted a special uniqueness and painted an undying beauty regarding my grandmother from the moment I could stretch out my once tiny hands and arms to her. So naturally, and so naturally, her wedding band was equally special. Equally beautiful. It only made sense ... and with such ease. In my mind's eye, I still visualize her twisting her band with a nervous hand when she felt lost for words.
Was it her first marriage? No.
That little band represented much in this world today ... the imperfections. The imperfections in this world. The imperfections in our worlds. The imperfections that seek to slay. And oh, how they can slay. Just given the chance.
That silver band graced with diamonds was missing two stones.
One on this upper corner—
And one on the opposite bottom corner—
Was my grandmother happy about that? You be the judge. She had taken it to the jeweler on more than one occasion to replace the stones. The stones just wouldn't stay. And though perfection seeking, one by one, they would fall again and again.
Was it time for a new band?
Not on your life. She loved that band. She never took it off. Was she crazy in love with my Pa-Paw? Sometimes. Sometimes not. I remember her teasing to hit him over the head with a cast iron skillet. And he stopped smoking the day an ash set her dress on fire. Yeah, that story was repeated over and over. They always teased. They often got on each other's very last remaining nerve.
But my grandmother had experienced a very turbulent first marriage. Most of her stories died with her due to shame. After surviving that, I believe she just wanted stability. And I think she had discovered, as we all who have gone astray, the importance of obedience to God. And I don't mean to blast her first husband, who I have been led to believe was my biological grandfather, and whom I never met. In all fairness, I only heard her side. And he never came around to offer a second. I was okay with that, too. I had a Pa-Paw, and he didn't have to be flesh and blood. We belonged to each other because we loved each other. Plain and simple. We were there for each other. And yeah, his history before my grandmother died with him. I wish they hadn't been ashamed of their pasts. They had so much to teach me. And repentant hearts should never feel shame.
After my grandmother's passing, while her spirit went missing in soaring freedom and while her precious body was being prepared to be transferred to the funeral home, out in the hospital parking lot, my uncle made it clear that he wanted her wedding ring to be mine. Melted my exhausted heart.
"I'll take it," I said, my mind still reminiscing my hands touching her hair, her cheeks, her hands for the very last time.
And since that time, I've been trying to determine what to do with the beautiful thing, the beautiful thing tucked away in my heart's closet.
Do I get it fitted to wear? Do I try once again to have the stones replaced?
The beautiful thing that reminds me of her. Of her beautiful life. Of her imperfect life. Of the things that were missing in her life. Of the things that went missing in her life. Of the things she just couldn't quite get right in her life. Of the things that sought to slay her life. And oh, I know they secretly slayed her.
And yeah, that ultimately lead us straight to Jesus, the repairer of the broken.
Because Jesus is the only one who makes us beautiful. He's the only one who perfects us. He's the only one we are missing in life. He's the only one we should never be without. He's the only one who can take our fallen lives and help us mend unashamed. He's the only one who can help us get this life right. He's the only one who can roll away the stones in this life that are sheer barriers to Him.
We can't replace the void—the empty holes—with children, with hopes deferred, with a new spouse, with a parent, with prescription medicines, or with a new jewel.
When every corner of our lives seems to fall apart, again and again, when the band tightening our world threatens to kill, when the temptation comes to just go missing ...
Jesus is the only Stone—the Cornerstone—who remains.
Dear Lord, let me live and die imitating her imperfect faith. Can I? May I? The faith that trickled down to me. Down to my girls. Let it continue to trickle. And may the course of action, the missing pieces, continue to perfect to resemble you more.