It Seems to Me
June saw the 10th anniversary of my marriage to the love of my life, Alma. As we had purchased a house and paid for our wedding at the same time, she told me she didn’t want a separate wedding band other than her engagement ring; but she hoped I might buy her a 10th-anniversary band when the day arrived. Being candid, I’m sort of stunned that 10 years have passed already.
In January, not knowing how long it would take to find a suitable band, I called Brinker’s, the same jeweler who helped us 10 years ago. I was told they no longer worked with the manufacturer of my wife’s engagement ring, but they would be happy to custom make one for us. I received a surprise call two or three days later, “Steve, we just received an estate ring, and I think it’s perfect.”
Leda, our sales associate, and I conspired to have Alma drop her ring off to be cleaned, thus allowing me to see pictures of the rings together; they looked beautiful. I decided I didn’t want to make this decision without Alma having seen the ring, so I asked Leda to show it to her. Suffice to say, Alma decided on that ring despite my protestations that we should also look at other options as well.
To my surprise, when I picked up the ring I was not filled with the same sense of excitement that accompanied my picking up her wedding ring back in 2011. This troubled me. Was purchasing an “estate ring” an inappropriate way to commemorate a 10th anniversary? I had specifically asked if the ring were the product of some negative circumstance, and I was assured it wasn’t; but there it was – that discomfiting feeling in my gut. I tried to rationalize it, thinking the normal discomfort was the same as whenever I buy anything expensive; but the feeling never subsided.
The next day, I emailed Bishop Siegel asking if he would bless the ring. I didn’t tell him of my discomfort, but I did mention this was an “estate ring;” and I commented that “I'd like to ensure that nothing is connected to it prior to my giving it to Alma, so the exorcism involved in the blessing will provide an added peace-of-mind.”
For those who don’t know, blessings contain a form of exorcism that drives away any evil that may have attached to the object in question. After all, the Church teaches clearly that evil forces can attach to things; and this is the reason we bless houses, cars, and, in this case, a ring.
When I arrived at the Bishop’s office, he put on his stole, grabbed his holy water and began. He asked for God’s blessing on us on the occasion of our 10th anniversary, and then he blessed the ring. At that point, I felt an immediate sense of release and peace. It was not gradual, it was instant. I am fully confident that blessing was absolutely necessary—something was released by it. If you know me, you know I am not a “superstitious Catholic.” I was convinced my discomfort was an explainable concern over cost or some other rational thing. But the moment the ring was blessed, it became “Alma’s ring;” and the discomfort was replaced by excitement and anticipation of our anniversary when she would receive the ring as a gift. As I write, I feel that excitement and joy in my heart.
This was a great reminder to me that blessings matter. These are not merely superstitious things we do; they are avenues of grace that have a real effect. In that moment, we ask God to consecrate these objects to Himself, that we want him to be a part of whatever significance the items have for us, and that no matter their former purpose, we know that He is the God who “makes all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
Through Bishop Siegel, God made new and pure this symbol of 10 years of dedicated love. What a grace and joy to give this symbol to my wife knowing that it was made new, and any former attachment was broken by a blessing.