This post has been swimming in my head for a year and a half. It took me that long to admit it; that I had lost one of my diamond earrings Stan gave me for our 10th wedding anniversary. But what I learned in that 1.5 years was about far more than a lost diamond earring. For me, it was far more about another lesson in the journey of marriage.
We walked into that jewelry store, hand in hand, me 8 months pregnant with our third baby – a little girl, who we were anxiously awaiting her little pink arrival after having two blue arrivals before her. We had talked about going back to Jamaica for our 10th wedding anniversary, but instead, we went to Old Fort, North Carolina, staying close to home to be able to prepare to expand our family one last time.
We walked in and I immediately found the pair of sparkling diamond earrings I had been dreaming of. I don’t know why diamonds are so very appealing to me but they are totally my fave, much to Stan’s chagrin. Tiny little channel set diamond hoops, gently surrounded by shiny white gold, graced my ears as we left that store. As I took them off that night and placed them in their special jewelry store box, I admired them from a far, feeling loved and treasured and wanting very much to wear them, but could not imagine losing them. They would stay in the box, only to be worn for special occasions.
Fast forward a couple of months and I attended a wonderful Women’s Retreat, “Thrift Shop”, with a dear friend of mine at the Summit Church here in Durham, NC. One of the talks really stood out to me. The speaker was Jada Edwards. She used an illustration about “Embracing the Grace” that God has given us…much like we embrace the gift of diamond jewelry from our beloved. She told about receiving a diamond bracelet from her husband and leaving it in its box, secure and protected, only to glitter and glimmer on special occasions. She likened this to our gift of grace, given to us by the Lord. She challenged, “Do we only get it out for special occasions? Do we keep it tucked away, safe and secure, only letting it shine when it is safe?” She also spoke about marriage and about such gifts being an outward expression of love from our spouse, one that represents the beauty and honor with which our spouse dons upon us. Why hide that?
So, I decided…I was going to wear those diamond earrings that Stan had bought me! And I was going to wear them every day. I felt great about wearing them and proudly told anyone who commented that my dear husband had gotten them for me for our 10th wedding anniversary. And, every time I spoke of them, my affection for Stan and appreciation for the gift of attending that conference swelled. It also really made me reflect on the gift of grace that our Heavenly Father has given us and how exactly I share… or don’t share it. Do I keep it hidden in a special box, only to be shared when I feel it safe and secure, its value surely recognized by other special occasion attendees? I felt great about the message I was sure God had communicated with me! But, little did I know, His lesson was much more impactful…and hard.
About two weeks later, I ran my first half marathon. I had those earrings on, as I drove down to Emerald Isle for my big day. I planned to take the dazzlers off before the race – I mean, really, diamonds and 13.1? I had to draw the line somewhere. So, I reached up, unhooked one and grabbed the other. It was not there. I did not panic. I was sure I had them on when I left my house. I checked my shirt, the floor near the bed I was about to get into, ran out to the car and looked in the floor board, the seat, I shook out my clothes…I did not find it, but I felt sure that I would, I mean…I had been inspired by God to wear those things! Surely, He would not let me lose one!
I did not find it while we were there at the beach – we stayed for a week following the half marathon, so I had a whole week to comb every fiber of the rug in the room where I slept. I did not tell Stan. I was, honestly, afraid to. I had convinced myself that he was going to be angry, call me irresponsible and never get me anything “diamond” again!
We left the beach, I called the owner of the house we rented…she had the cleaning crew look for it. I looked all over my house, again in my car and through every single piece of clothing that had carefully been placed in my suitcase. I did not find it. I was so upset. How in the world could I have lost that earring?
I wish I could say that in the end I found that earring. But, I did not. I imagined that finding it would have been the point at which I would write this BLOG post. But, what happened is that after 1.5 years, I finally told Stan that I lost the earring. And, just like that, he replaced the set. All of my angst over his reaction, a waste.
However, the journey that the lost diamond earring took me on, allowed me to identify my own “lostness”. I had been afraid and insecure and I let those emotions guide me in neglecting to tell Stan I had lost that earring. I didn’t even give him a chance. In being blinded by my sense of personal failure, my lost diamond earring was very symbolic of a “lost” me. And, that resulted in a loss of our best “us”.
No marriage is perfect. No marriage partner is perfect. I know this in my head but my heart often is guided by feelings, rather than truth. In neglecting to tell Stan about losing those earrings, I projected my own insecurities onto him. I imagined him being so disappointed in me, that he surely would not replace the earring, much less, the set. I even looked on Ebay and Craigslist for “single diamond channel set earrings” in an effort to replace the lost one without the hard confession to Stan. I would make it right, without bothering him, inconveniencing him or burdening him. And that is just what I was doing with myself in our relationship. I was keeping all of my hurts from life inside, attempting to remedy them myself.
“And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
There certainly are very valid reasons that some marriages do not last and I do not pass judgment on those. Having been married fourteen years now, though, I can share…dare I say, a tiny bit of wisdom? Marriage is a union between two imperfect people. I have learned that a lot can be gained by looking first at the imperfect person I find in the mirror every morning. That is not to say that my partner is without fault, but I imagine myself, also, as Stan’s mirror – what am I reflecting back to him. What does he see when he looks at me. Does he see God’s glorious grace shining, similar to those diamond earrings?
The new set of diamond earrings is very symbolic to me. This whole journey impacted us as a set, not as individuals, just as in marriage the two shall become one…one beautiful new set in Him. Had I replaced the lost earring with a phony from Ebay or Craigslist, I would have always known it to be a replacement, a fake, an imposter. I would have always looked at it with regret for not being forthcoming or honest. What had to happen was a deep heart lesson that lead to confession, vulnerability and surrendering of my fears. It lead to growth and refinement in my marriage that I am reminded of every time I look in the mirror, wearing my beautiful new dazzling set of sparkling diamonds. I am also reminded of the grace that God has given to both me and to my marriage. Now, neither the diamonds nor the grace are tucked away, hidden or closed up in a box. Now, I am excited to let my new set of earrings and God’s grace sparkle and shine, just like this lesson in marriage.
“Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Living Bible)