the lost ring

wedding ring

This is my wedding ring. Actually it’s the ring Sally gave me when we got engaged: I had given her an engagement ring and I too wanted an engagement ring in order to show everyone I was engaged to her. For our wedding she got it engraved with the date of the wedding so that it would become my wedding ring. 1-7-89.

No, cynical peeps, the date was not there in case I forgot it. It’s a date that is engraved in my mind – I counted down towards it for about 6 months in my diary! The date is purely there to show the change of use.

The observant among you will have noticed that I have a different, much chunkier, gold band on my wedding finger. The reason for that can be seen if you look closely at the ‘9’ in ’89’ inside the ring. Eventually the ring cracked and broke. I wore it out! So we got a second, chunkier wedding ring to replace it and the original was put in a safe place. I had planned that one day I would get it restored.

The problem is that as time passed I completely forgot where that safe place was. I thought it was in my bedside cabinet, but even though I have emptied it several times and looked inside every place and container inside the drawers (and behind the drawers) it wasn’t there. I looked in Sally’s bedside cabinet as she has some precious things in there – some of our children’s milk teeth that were returned to us by the Tooth Fairy (in case our children read this and are worried); letters and poems that I have written to her over the years and other things that have no intrinsic value but lots of sentimental value. I thought that probably my old wedding ring would have been in there with those things. But no, it wasn’t there either.

I had even resorted to asking Sally to look for it – she is the looker in our house – but she couldn’t find it. So we assumed that somehow it had been lost in one of the house moves or accidentally thrown out in one of our tidying sessions. I forgot all about it.

Until today.

I was rummaging in one of the sets of drawers in my study – looking for a bulldog clip – when I noticed a section in an organising tray in the bottom of the drawer that had been covered over by a piece of debris. When I lifted it up I was thrilled to see my old wedding ring!

Wooo Hooo!

It’s not because it is very valuable (although as Sally was a student when she bought it for me it was relatively expensive).

It’s not because it proves that I am married to Sally. I have almost 27 years of being together with her, two wonderful children and lots of people who know that we are married to show that.

It’s because it was given to me by her at that special moment when we were wed and when it had gone missing that link to that amazing day had vanished. The value was in the giver and what the gift represented. It meant so much to me.

Some people treat their faith a bit like that ring. It was really important at first. It meant something. Perhaps you were baptised. But over time it became a bit tarnished and perhaps even was a bit damaged by other people or circumstances and eventually, rather than getting it restored, it got put in a safe place and forgotten about.

And then, when you least expect it, perhaps when you have forgotten about it, you rediscover it. You find that it had been nearby all the time. God hadn’t gone anywhere, but you’d had been looking in the wrong place. He’s just been waiting for you.

I am going to get the ring restored now. It is going to be made as good as new.

How about you?

Be blessed, be a blessing.



clicking on the photo will take you to Amazon’s site for the book

We have Borrowers in our house. Or, to be more precise, Borrowers are targeting my study. In case you don’t know, Borrowers are tiny little people who live an almost parasitic life in our houses, ‘borrowing’ items that they find and adapting them for their own life. Several films and TV series have been made about them, based on the original books by Mary Norton.

The ones who raid my study seem to be stationery-oriented Borrowers as it is mainly pens, pencils ruler, hole punches, paper and envelopes that are ‘borrowed’. I have to go searching all around the house to find out where the mischievous little people have left these items. And sometimes I have to rely on Sally, the finder-in-chief, to locate them. Whilst I understand that the Borrowers also feel that they have need of the items they ‘borrow’ I find it annoying when the items are not where I left them and my work is interrupted by searching.

It probably says more about me than anything else that I find myself feeling irritated by the Borrowers. I try to rationalise it by saying that it is irritating because it interrupts a train of thought or because the Borrowers know that I want things to be where I leave them, but the fact of the matter is that I need an attitude shift.

This Sunday morning we are looking in church at Living Imaginatively as followers of Jesus. I think that starts with seeing things the way that God sees them rather than the way we have always seen them. So, rather than being irritated I could be pleased that I have the resources in the first place, grateful that they have been useful to the Borrowers, and recognise that their need for the items may have been even greater than mine. That would be a more generous, big-hearted way of looking at things.

So, if I can do it with the stationery Borrowers, where else in my life do I need to look at things differently and use God-given imagination to do things differently? God’s Spirit helps us to do that (if we want him to), enabling us to be creative and imaginative people in all aspects of our lives. This ‘free sample of Jesus’ life is not about being nicer people on Sundays, but about being Jesus-like people 24/7.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

And be nice to those Borrowers!

the parable of the lost pen

There was a man who had a favourite pen. It was not an expensive pen, but it wrote nicely and he had bought some refills for it so he could continue to use it for a long time as well
Pilot Begreen Green Tecpoint Rollerball Pen 0.5mm Tip 0.3mm Line Black Ref 145101001 [Pack of 10] as being more environmentally friendly.

One day, when he was looking to write something with his pen, he could not find it. It was not in the pen pot on his desk. It was not obviously in view on his desk. He started to look under different piles of paper on his desk. It was not there. He looked on the floor under his desk. It was not there. He decided that one of his family had ‘borrowed’ it, so he accused them of nabbing it.

They all denied that they had nabbed the pen, and were a bit hurt by the accusation because they knew that he was very protective of the pens in his study.

The man continued to search for the pen in all of the usual places that the pen often turned up in. He checked his briefcase and other bags. No pen.

He checked a folder he used to put sermon notes in. No pen.

He started checking some less usual places. Still no pen.

The man was frustrated that he had lost the pen. He still had a couple of refills left for it, and he really needed to use the pen.

So he went out in his car to the stationery store and looked for a similar pen. There were none on the shelves. So the man bought some other pens and soon forgot all about the old pen.

The man reflected on how churches sometimes treated people like that. People can drift away and while we make efforts to talk with them and encourage them to come back, some don’t. After a while other things replace them and we forget about those people, who feel hurt and upset. The man wished it was not like that and resolved to try to do better in his church.

The story has not ended, however. Because this morning the man picked up a folder he had not used for a month. When he opened it the lost pen fell out. How the man rejoiced! He went out into the streets and danced around, shouting that he had found his lost pen. (Actually that last sentence is fiction). The man was pleased that he had found his lost pen, however, and resolved to look more carefully next time it went missing.

And the man reflected that Jesus had said how much rejoicing there is in heaven over one ‘sinner’ who repents. He reflected that God never gives up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. He remembered that he himself was a frequent cause of rejoicing in heaven. He asked for God’s help to show his love and grace more effectively and ‘normally’.

Be blessed, be a blessing.