On Being Thankful For Things

Back in the summer of 2006 I worked a hard construction job for 40 hours a week. Right before the job started I made an expensive purchase: a legit ring that would wow my girlfriend into saying yes instead of no. Luckily she did the former.

So I worked hard day after day. I didn’t even need to work out because my body ached from the hard work. But by the end of the summer I had paid off the ring in full. It was worth it. Happy wife, happy life. Right?

Fast forward to today. A few weeks ago Rose told me she couldn’t find her ring. A combination of needing to take it off for work and having “preggers brain,” as she likes to call it, led her to misplace it. Or maybe it was stolen. We aren’t totally sure. Over the past few weeks we’ve turned our house over looking for it. No dice. Still lost.

And so here we arrive at the week of Thanksgiving and I find myself grieving the loss of a thing. Sure a thing with an incredible amount of meaning and value to both Rose and me, but still, it’s a thing—a piece of shiny metal with some even shinier stuff on top.

I’ve somehow already walked through the five stages of grief. Over a thing!

Every year I encourage myself to be thankful for the things that matter. After all, the important things in life aren’t things. As a pastor I teach people to not place their hope or happiness in things. Things will let us down. Things are replaceable.

But what happens when you lose a thing that is actually important? How do you deal with that? What happens when a thing is actually irreplaceable?

This year I grieve the loss of a ring that I spent 3 months paying for and a lifetime trying to earn. That ring is just a thing, but it meant so much more to me than that. It was the symbol of how lucky I am to call Rose my wife. How blessed I am to have her by my side.

In spite of that I remain thankful for what the ring came to represent, even if isn’t on the finger it belongs. I’m thankful for the 6 plus years Rose was able to wear it on her finger. And I’m thankful for a marriage that didn’t reach its pinnacle in a ceremony where we exchanged rings.

Is it ok to be thankful for things?