Friday, June 24, 2011

Fellowship of the Ring

When relationships end, there's always some kind of baggage ... I'm talking about all kinds of relationships here. The romantic kind and the platonic kind and even the familial kind. All of them. When a relationship of any kind goes south, there's always stuff left over. Some of it is emotional, the stuff you carry around with you in your head and heart. And some of it is physical -- the stuff that sits on a shelf, that you can't bring yourself to get rid of, but that you don't want to look at, either.

I find that I have an easier time unpacking my emotional baggage than I do the physical baggage. There's something about letting go of the tangible that I find very painful. However, since I don't ever want to be on "Hoarders" I will sometimes go through my house, ruthlessly shutting it down and throwing things away. Sometimes, you just have to harden your heart and do it.

And sometimes, there are things you can't just toss. Because, symbolism or no, exploded relationship or not, they are actually valuable.

As in, no one throws diamond rings in the trash.

But let's face it -- after a divorce? No one wants to wear them either.

To be honest, I did occasionally wear mine on my right hand. Because they were pretty, and because I often thought they were a reminder that I could survive anything. Eventually, though, it kind of made me feel like a loser, as though people would think I was pining for a relationship that was receding further and further into the past, which I wasn't.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that the time had come to do something. It was a waste to have these rings and not wear them. Throwing them out, obviously, would be stupid. But keeping rings that I wasn't wearing anymore seemed equally stupid. So I held them in my hand and took a moment to look at them. Really look at them.

I remembered getting my engagement ring. How excited and happy I was. And then I let it go.

I remembered getting my wedding ring. How goofy and crazy that moment was. And then I let it go.

I looked at the ring I got on my honeymoon. How beautiful that trip was, how much fun. And then I let it go.

Things change, I thought. It's time for more change.

I gathered them up and went to a jewelry store, who took them and helped me to design something new. A ring. One that had components of all of those rings, but was new and beautiful. Shiny. Sparkly. All mine.

And like me, it is new and fresh, but also carefully constructed with pieces of the past. Because even as we unpack our baggage -- physical and emotional -- it's important to remember that it isn't and wasn't all garbage. Some things you need to let go. But some things -- the good things, the valuable things -- you can remake and keep.

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