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wear and tear

"the paper anniversary"
paper collage on cardboard panel
gregory a. milinovich

i broke my finger this summer. my ring finger. on my left hand. fortunately, i had just taken off my wedding band, as i was playing football in a lake, and one of the guys i was playing with lost his. so i took mine off and on the very next pass, i broke my finger. that was in july.

it is now october, and while my finger doesn't really hurt anymore, it bears the evidence of being broken. i used to be ring size 8 1/4. i just got measured the other day and i'm now an 11 3/4.

so i clearly haven't put on my wedding ring since that that day in the lake. i have been hoping that somehow my finger would shrink back to its normal size, but alas, that has not happened so i finally decided to take my ring to the jewelry store to see if they can stretch it. i told shannon i was going, and she said i might as well take her engagement ring, too, since some of the prongs needed some work. so i took the rings to the store; the diamond ring i gave shannon on the night i asked her to marry me, and the ring she put on my finger the day we said, "i do."

the nice lady with the magnifying-glass glasses looked at them closely, measured my finger, scribbled notes and gave me an estimate of about $120.

as i walked away from the jewelry store, i couldn't help but reflect on the obvious metaphor that this ring-repair is for the relationship that they signify. rings go through all the stuff you do. they mash potatoes and change the oil and type long emails. they mow the lawn and mop the bathroom and scrub the pots and pans. and after 10 years of this, they begin to show some wear and tear. and they need some work.

just like our relationships. the relationships that we live in, especially the close ones, go through all the stuff we do. they go through stress and joy. they go through weddings and funerals and births and miscarraiges. they go through late-night worry and meal-time arguments. they go through the whole gamut of experience, and after some time of this, they can show some real wear and tear. and they need some work. that's just normal. but too often, i think, people just float through all their days not really thinking that their relationships need some repair. and before long, the prongs are starting to wear off and the band is getting a little thin. and who knows, maybe something breaks and the darn thing doesn't even fit anymore. but it certainly isn't something that a little intentional time and energy can't take care of.

so here's hoping that you take the time somewhere along the way to make sure your relationships are holding up, to look at the wear and tear and think about what kind of repair is needed, and then to do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

Comments

Rebecca said…
Hi Greg.

I'm here via Crafy P.

What a lovely and so true post.

Quite inspiring.

I think I'll make sure to take a look at my hubby's ring today. Goodness knows I have put him through some wear and tear.
Walt said…
just before my divorce back in 1982, when I was separated and still wearing my ring - it broke. split! Kathy and I have now been married over 22 years, the ring has never been off my finger, I made sure it was very strong when we picked it out.
pete said…
man.

i hope i'm able to fix mine.
Anonymous said…
I just happened to look down yesterday amid the cake and the crowd at church and i noticed one of the tiny stones in my wedding band was missing. not the big honker in my engagement ring, but one of the teeny ones embedded in my wedding band. it got me thinking that i should have taken as much care of those little ones as i have the big one over these last 18 years. hmm....julid

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