In 2008 my partner and I got married on the first day it was legal in California. In somewhat of a rush, I picked up a couple of inexpensive HRC rings embedded with the equal sign to use in our ceremony in Malibu. With our three children and a handful of friends at our side, we exchanged vows and choked back tears of joy on Zuma Beach.
My ring is a bit too large and every so often it comes flying off my finger when my hands are wet, soapy, or oily. I've temporarily lost that ring many times under furniture, down the kitchen disposal, in the clothes dryer, and countless other places. Once we helped a man haul away tree limbs from our back yard and the ring slipped into the massive truckload of debris and rubble. Miraculously, it revealed itself when the man was unloading at the dump the next day and he was kind enough to return it. The equal signs have faded a bit, yet the ring is in surprisingly good shape despite the years of wear and tear.
I like to think that my little ring is symbolic of the kinds of tough challenges that those who make a commitment to each other sometimes endure. There is no promise that the years together will always be easy. Commitment means making a promise to emotionally support the one we love in periods of joy and success, as well as in moments of crisis and failure. It requires honesty, loyalty, trust, and mutual respect. It demands the relational toughness and resilience necessary to survive, and ultimately thrive, during the highs and lows of living in connection.
Yesterday my 8-year old daughter asked me why Chick-fil-A dislikes "Gay and Leslie" people. After rolling on the floor in laughter, I regained my composure and did my best to make use of this teachable moment. As my impromptu lesson unfolded, I took off my ring and used it as a prop to discuss the importance of love and justice.
I reminded her of that beautiful day on Zuma Beach four years ago when my husband and I celebrated our love for one another, as well as our love for her and her brothers. She thought for a minute, then said she would miss the waffle fries and the free ice cream cone for kids. She gently touched the tattered ring on my finger and said "But I love you and Daddy... and Chick-fil-A is stupid."
She gets it. The ring was cheap, but its value is priceless.