I’m honored to wear Mrs. Walker’s wedding ring

I got a (kind-of) new antique wedding ring last week. I’ve lost so much weight that my old ring wouldn’t fit any more. I haven’t worn a ring for months because the last time I had one on I nearly lost it in the park.

This new ring is has a story of its own. It is full of history, lessons, and love.

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In the summer of 2000, The Husband and I were dating. I was 19 and thought I knew it all. I was ready to conquer the world and if things weren’t going my way I forced them to. I was a very selfish, self-centered person. It was all about me.

To this day, I don’t know what The Husband saw in me but I am so thankful he saw something of value. We were polar opposites. He was a lot like he is today. He thought of others and how he could help them. He went out of his way to make things better for other people. He gave away his personal things to someone who had less. He loved to listen to people’s stories, where they came from, and what made them who they are. He listened to the older generations, their history, and learned from them.

That summer, The Husband took a job as a youth ministry intern in Northern California. I was not happy. It was too far away and I missed him dearly. Our conversations were limited to the short time on the phone every few evenings.

I wrote letters. I’m surprised I didn’t scare him away because I wrote pages of letters. I would send him thick envelopes almost weekly. By the end of the summer he had a book’s worth. I smothered him, but he still saw something in me.

On the other hand, he spent the summer doing maintenance instead of the youth internship he thought he was going to do. He worked on the church and helped with other projects. He essentially did whatever was needed.

One of the things he did was paint the basement of the church with Mr. Walker. While they painted, Mr. Walker would fill the day with stories from his rich life. He told of how an ancestor was one of the original Texas Rangers and joked about the show, “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

He shared stories of his military career. While in the military, he met the love of his life–Mrs. Walker–where they both held the rank of Sargent. His wife had died some years earlier, but he still kept a picture of her at his bedside.

Over 4th of July weekend, I flew down to visit The Husband. I got to see what he was spending his summer doing and meet some of the people. I don’t remember meeting Mr. Walker, but The Husband assures me that I did.

It was hard leaving The Husband when my weekend was done, but I had a plane ticket and a job to get back to myself. It was only a few short weeks until I would drive down, pick him up, and bring him home.

Towards the end of the summer, Mr. Walker had a priceless gift for us. He gave The Husband Mrs. Walker’s wedding ring set. It came unconditionally, to use, wear, sell, or do whatever The Husband wanted to with it. Mr. Walker said it was because he liked The Husband, had a nice girl, and just wanted him to have it.

First wedding ring.

My first wedding and engagement ring.

Sometime after the summer was done, The Husband showed me Mrs. Walker’s ring set. The look on my face must have horrified him. It was too small for me and it would never fit. One half of it was okay. I did not like the other half and didn’t hesitate to tell him. It was gawdy, ugly and would never go on my finger. It is no wonder it took the man many more months to propose. I have no doubt he questioned our relationship…and to this day I am in awe and amazement that he still wanted me.

I was selfish. I wanted better. I deserved a new ring that The Husband picked out just for me.

At that time, I didn’t see it as a symbol of love or a gift. I didn’t see it as an honor. I saw it as a large hunk of metal with a few stones in it.

He had two rings split apart and up-sized the half I approved of. I’m sure he was terrified more than the average man when he finally got up the nerve to propose about 9 months later. I had already rejected his ring once, would I change my mind and reject the “acceptable half” too? Thankfully, I didn’t.

Four months later we were married. The other half of my wedding ring set was a simple gold band that we purchased together. A few months later, we had the set fused. I had the man I wanted, a ring on my finger and I was on my way to design my life. The other half of the ring went in a box up on a back shelf.

Over the years, I’ve grown and matured.

I have learned to live outside myself and about being considerate of others. Just by living with The Husband and his selfless heart, I have gained much wisdom. I have learned to think of others first, putting myself second. I have learned to look at what I have and think “what don’t I need” instead of “how can I get better”.

Occasionally I thought of the old ‘ugly’ half of the ring up in a box hidden on a top shelf. Most of the time it was when we were in a financial hard point. I have no idea of the monetary value of these rings, but I do know they are worth a bit. It was tempting to get it appraised and try to sell it to get us out of a hard place–I would never wear it anyways.

But every time I mentioned it to The Husband, he would simply say no. I now understand. It wouldn’t be right to sell such a thing.

As time went on, my thoughts began to change. I would think of the ring I wore, how it belonged to another woman, and what that truly meant. The selfless gift of Mr. Walker to my husband is one that still makes me pause. It didn’t bother me to wear another woman’s ring, I saw it as sharing love, passed down through the generations. This ring was a symbol of my commitment to my husband, as Mrs. Walker had been committed to her’s many years before.

I thought of the other ring and it too took a place of value in my heart. A symbol of who I once was, where I had come from, and the love and grace those around me had while I grew and matured. That ring became beautiful. It wasn’t because I thought it was pretty (although I love it), or that antique is now in style, but because of what it stood for–selfless love. A selfless love that I now understand, treasure, and value. A selfless love that I desire to pass on to my children and hope to inspire others to live too.

Through my illness and weight loss this past year, not only did I lose all the baby weight, I made it to my target weight. All I wanted was to be the same weight I was when we got married. I saw that weight come, and go. As I struggled to get control of my health, I have crept down to the what I weighed in my early High School years. I am still a healthy weight–just skinnier than I though I would ever become.

And that ring that would never fit my finger and I would never wear?

Well, it now fits. Thankfully, I am not the 19-year-old self centered girl I once was. It is a georgous ring and I love the way it looks, but there is so much more to it than that.

Wedding ring

My new ring that I once thought was too ugly.

It is not only a symbol of my husband’s love for me, but of the man who he is. He is a selfless man who works hard and loves people.

If I could go back in time and meet one person, I would want to meet Mrs. Walker. I want to hear her story and who she was. She had to have been an incredible woman to be married to such a selfless man as Mr. Walker. A man who saw something in my husband to give him his wife’s wedding ring set. A woman whose ring I wear. A ring that reminds me of love, grace, and has taught me that there is so much more in this world than stuff.

While I will never meet her, I will say, “Mrs. Walker, I am honored to wear your wedding ring. I hope I would make you proud.”

 

~Crystal

 

 

Every Thursday I like to highlight what it means to Live in Green Grass. I like to share stories of growth, contentment, or times when all seemed lost but good came in the end. Please click on the Green Grass Awards tab or here. I would love to hear and share your stories.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ellenlandreth
    May 15, 2014 @ 12:38:14

    Great Story. But I don’t think you were a selfish young thing. You were very helpful and patient with me.

    Like

    Reply

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