As she and her husband celebrate their anniversary, Sherry Hayes-Peirce contemplates the significance of the weight of her wedding ring.
September is one of my favorite months, because I celebrate my birthday and wedding anniversary the same week. The other day as I was going through boxes that had moved four times and never been opened, I discovered an old journal from my days as a single girl, buried in the bottom.
There was an entry about one of the girls in my young adult ministry group getting engaged and I wrote how someone commented, “Now that’s a rock!”
At that time, it was a compliment on the size of the diamond, and the newly engaged woman said, “Yeah, it is heavy.” I felt a little jealous and thought, how I longed for the weight of a wedding ring on my finger.
My most fervent prayer had been to get married and I was dating and even had some long-term relationships, but when you haven’t found the one by the age of forty you think you are going to be a spinster. I mean my family had pretty much started making odds on if I was gonna be a dog or cat girl.
So as my 40th birthday approached I decided to travel to the Vatican for a pilgrimage on what I should do with the rest of my life. My pastor encouraged me to contact our local bishop to get a letter to stay at the Institute of Bambina overlooking St. Peter’s Square, and to obtain a ticket to the Wednesday audience. Bishop Joe Sartoris helped me to get both of the aforementioned items and off I went.
Every day for the week I was there I attended Mass at the Vatican, praying for discernment on what God was calling me to. The more I prayed ,the more it became clear that my desire to pursue a vocation of wife and mother might not be in alignment with God’s plans for me. So on my last morning there -- that was my 40th birthday -- I made a wager with God. I looked up to heaven in the middle of St. Peter’s Square and thought “God if you don’t send me a husband by my 41st birthday, I will become a nun.”
The year passed uneventfully and a week away from my 41st birthday, a guy named Brad asked me for my phone number. He called the next day to ask me out for dinner and I accepted the invitation and we have been together ever since.
We dated for nearly four years before he asked me to marry him, and I knew he was the one because the Italian restaurant where he proposed offered the Pope’s Pillow for the dessert. I was eating the sweet treat when he went down on one knee. When he slipped his grandmother’s ring on my finger, I cried with joy and relief that I was getting married.
The ring I wore through our engagement had to go to the jeweler to have the wedding band soldered to the engagement ring. We decided for me to leave it off for the two weeks before the wedding and my finger felt lighter, and again I longed to feel the weight of the ring.
When the ring was blessed by the priest and sprinkled with holy water before Brad slipped the ring on for life, it felt different too.
That was nine years ago this week. These days, the weight of the ring is a constant reminder to me of the power of prayer, my commitment to my husband, and 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
Anyone who has been married knows that we have to remember these words when we experience situations that make us feel jealous, angry, hurt or needing to compromise. While we celebrate nine years of marriage, we are even more excited that we have been in relationship for 15 years. Our bodies, homes, and even politics have changed, but what will never change is this: our love for each other remains, and the weight of my ring is a good fit.
Copyright 2020 Sherry Hayes-Peirce
Image copyright 2020 Sherry Hayes-Peirce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sherry Hayes-Peirce is a Catholic social media strategist, blogger, conference speaker, podcast guest and contributing author of the Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers. She serves as a digital engagement manager for American Martyrs Catholic Community in Manhattan Beach, CA, and St. Monica Parish in Mercer Island, WA. Sherry has a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and is grateful to be a digital disciple of Christ.