When I was younger my mother had a turqoise ring that looked much like the ring above.. Almost identical, actually, and if I could pry the camera from my children's hands long enough to use it I could show you just how much it really does look like this one, but....I digress.
I begged Mama every day to let me wear that ring. For some reason I was always obsessed with that particular piece - which is strange to me because at that point in my life I wasn't in to jewelry. Now, of course I like to wear everything I have and all at once - the sparklier the better - the more the merrier...once again, I digress.
Anyway, one day I guess I'd finally wore her down because she gave in and let me wear the ring. I was so excited. I.couldn't.wait.! I remember laying awake the night before and planning my whole outfit around that ring - which at that time probably meant that I wore my 'nice' pair of wranglers, a nice t-shirt in my own size, (rather than one of Daddy's oversize ones) and of course my trusty cowboy boots.
As Mama handed me the ring the next morning, she went into great detail about how special this ring was. She told me under no uncertain terms that I would be in HUGE trouble if anything happened to that ring. Was it worth the pressure? ((gulp)) I loved that ring and was willing to take my chances. After all, what could possibly happen?
My whole day went better because of that ring. Oh, the compliments I got, my goodness! Before P.E. class, I ever- so-carefully removed it and placed it safely in my bag, patting the top of the bag after I closed it.
When I came back, got dressed and got ready to put the ring back on - it was GONE!!! I panicked! Oh, my goodness! I was in so.much.trouble! I dumped the contents of my bag - nothing! What to do? What to do?
It was no use. The ring was gone. True to her word, I was grounded for a month. Which is an eternity for a 15-year-old.
Flash forward to my senior year. I am standing in the ladies room when I look over and see one of my classmates "Rosa Jones" - and she has on my ring! Mama's ring. After 2 years I had finally found the ring! But on someone else's finger. Awkward.
"Where did you get that ring?" I asked Rosa, hoping she'd tell me that she'd found it in the P.E. locker, during sophomore year.
"My boyfriend, Ralph Smith, gave it to me," she smiled.
Not good. First of all, let me explain something to you about Rosa Jones and the school that I went to . Rosa had a reputation. No, not like that. But a reputation of smoking things besides cigarettes, etc, hanging out with a fast crowd, staying out all night - you get my drift. BUT, and yes that's a big but, she was still an absolutely beautiful, sweet, wonderful person and everybody - including me, loved her. In my school, just like all schools, there were cliques - the jocks, aggies, popular kids, band kids, theater kids, etc - none of which I really 'belonged' (story of my life.) But my class was different - we seemed to transcend that barrier - we were truly a close bunch. So, for me, although I knew that Rosa was, indeed, wearing my ring, it just wasn't an option to approach her. And I have to tell you, that even though I told Mama about my discovery, she, too loved Rosa very much and we just decided to part with the ring. It was never mentioned after that. Ever.
Fast forward to September 10, 2005.
September 10th's are always a little sad at our house. It's the anniversary of Jayson's birth and death. I usually lay pretty low, and treat myself to a day of doing nothing but lounging around with a sweet tea in one hand and a stack of my favorite magazines in the other. That particular September 10th was no different.
The phone rings - it's Mama. No surprise. She always calls on September 10th. She tells me that Rosa Jones, from high school is trying to get hold of me and she gives me Rosa's phone number.
I dial the number. No one home, but I leave a message. I am so excited when I see her number on my caller i.d. I am sure that she is calling me because it's Jayson's birthday. Sadly, she knows how hard those days can be because her and Ralph (whom she married) have been through the same ordeal - twice. I am happy that she remembered me on this day and can't wait to talk with her. (note: the ring never crosses my mind. Besides, Rosa and Ralph became Christians many years ago, so who they were in high school is long, long forgotten).
We make small talk. Assuming that Mama has told her what day it is I tell her that I know why she's calling and I really appreciate it - I can always use a friend on these days. My heart is just bursting with warmth and love for this 'girl', now a woman.
Then her tone becomes more serious.
"Kathie, I have to tell you something. Do you remember that day in the girls bathroom and you asked me where I got this ring, and I told you that Ralph gave it me? Well, it's really yours."
"I know," I say nonchalantly.
"You do?" she asks.
Yes, I've always known," I say.
"I want to ask for your forgiveness," she says.
"There is nothing to forgive," I tell her. "I have always loved you, and I always knew you were a great person. Teenage years are so tough, and I knew that you were going through a lot. But I always knew you had a good heart. I decided to forgive you for it that very day."
I think about how good it feels to reconnect with her. Imagine her calling on this day of all days! Thank you, God that someone has reached out to me today!!!
"Besides, I really needed to hear from a friend today," I tell her. "And I believe that all those years ago, God set everything in motion that very day for us to talk today, many years later, knowing that I'd need someone down the road and that person would be you. He used the ring to bring us together."
These aren't just empty words. I picture God on that day watching her while she's alone in the locker room going through peoples things. She slips the ring in her pocket and He says to Himself, "Someday you'll wonder what came over you and why you did this. You'll ask My forgiveness and of course I'll give it. "
Then He smiles as He thinks about His plan. " You don't know it, yet but My girl, Kathie is going to need you in about 23 years and what you're doing now will lead you to her. Just wait and see."
After Rosa and I finish talking I feel so warm, like a blanket has been wrapped around my heart.
That night I thank God for that day, so long ago, and although Mama had always told me that the ring was special, neither one of us really knew just how special it truly was.
The following week I come home from work and I have a special delivery package. Inside is a note, and attached to the note is Mama's beautiful turqoise ring. I call Mama and tell her the story. I tell her she is not getting that ring back.
"I'd say it really no longer belongs to me, anyway" Mama says.
The ring is now called 'Rosa's ring.' When I look at it, it reminds me of the amazing ways God works in our lives. How He can even take our sin, turn it around and use it for His benefit.
I now wear the ring proudly and when someone asks about it, I smile and say, "It's a gift form an old friend, isn't it beautiful?"