Thomas left the states less than a week ago, which was only a week or so after we made the journey from Kansas to Los Angeles (Whittier to be more exact). You would think that after nearly three years of various long distance patches (and hundreds of hours on skype) that the process of separation would be easier by now, but it doesn't really work like that. Don't get me wrong, we handle it more maturely now than we did even a year ago, but the initial separation is still comparable to being punched in the stomach. Well, I've never actually been punched in the stomach, so I guess I can't say, but you get the idea. The worst part is that you know it's coming and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Let me not digress too far in the "long distance" direction.
The good news of course is that we are on the home stretch of the long distance race, and the closer it gets to April the more excited I am to be getting married. I know, I usually don't share things like that. However, seeing as we're basically eloping, against the wishes of family and friends, I thought sharing some more personal details through social media would make up for it. In case you didn't catch the sarcasm, I do realize that is a ridiculous proposal. I'm very grateful for my understanding family and friends and their willingness to be respectful and supportive of our decision.
On that note, what I really want to share with all of you today is the story of our wedding rings. I didn't want an engagement ring, which basically meant that I had to explain that again and again as people glanced at my left ring finger after hearing the good news. I'll admit that it was mildly entertaining to see people's reactions. Thomas and I knew that we wanted similar or somehow related wedding rings that were preferably hand crafted. I suppose sometime last Spring we unconsciously put that particular intention out, but we never did any actual shopping around.
Fast forward to my time in India, where I'm feeling all "in line with the universe," where a vedic astrologer suggested that I wear a blue sapphire, where handcrafted fine jewelry is considerably cheaper than the west. With these considerations, the idea of buying our wedding rings in India planted itself in my mind.
I started looking around for local jewelers and ended up meeting a very interesting Indian jeweler named Om. I made the effort to meet with him various times to talk about the price, design, etc., always over a cup of chai. I started looking at the blue sapphires he had to offer, thanks to the astrologer bringing it to my attention but not really for the healing properties that he recommended. As a side note, for that you have to buy a certain size based on your weight, the stone has to be touching your skin and you have to wear the stone on your arm for a few days to make sure it brings you good fortune, then it's made into a ring and on a certain day of the week you can start wearing it. Anyway, to my surprise, I found one that I really liked even though I initially didn't imagine my wedding ring having any stone.
Thomas and I talked about it and decided to go for it. I was hesitant at first, but I ultimately saw it as an opportunity to put what I was learning into practice by maintaining a sense of detachment from the outcome. So off to the ATM I went, which was somewhat risky considering I gave Om half the total, but I had met with him enough to trust him. When he went MIA a few days later, I had a blink of a panic, but his friend next door kindly explained that Om had gone to his home village for a festival and would be returning the next day. He did of course, we chatted briefly and he told me that the rings would be ready on Saturday. That wasn't ideal, since I was leaving Rishikesh on Sunday, but he assured me that the rings were being made "shanti shanti" by the best local craftsmen.
As it turns out, they were made "shanti shanti" but Om and the craftsmen had a misunderstanding regarding the size. Initially, when I went to pick them up on Saturday they were both my size. Another blink of panic, more like a moment this time, and then Om assured me that it would be easily fixed by the time I left Sunday afternoon.
|Same size rings, Om in the background|
I returned Sunday afternoon and only hours before leaving Rishikesh, I had both rings in the right size in my possession. They are unique rings, and it doesn't bother me at all that the band is a little thicker than I wanted or whatever other small details didn't match my expectations. Sometimes our expectations don't serve us well, and as long as we understand that we are free to not be "disappointed" by outcomes. After all, it's just a ring. I think we could all agree that although it's a nice outward symbol of love and commitment, it's only what's going on inside that really gives it meaning. Try as we might to express love externally through material items, words and actions, can we ever really capture it's essence? Maybe the best way to express love is not expression at all, but simply experiencing it.