I lost the gemstone out of my engagement ring.
Watching television the night before I turned my rings round and round on my finger. I knew the stone was there then. Yet as I walked into the kitchen the next day, a Saturday lunch time, after a whole morning at Kids Club, I looked down at my hand and noticed the empty clasps. My heart sunk. My thoughts were it could be ground into the mud on a verge on the bus route picking up the kids, anywhere in our church building as I’d changed in and out of a costume, helped set up chairs and other things, jumped around during Kids Club, been upstairs and downstairs, traveled in two cars in the course of the morning, not to mention having a shower first thing.
‘Of course, it’s gone,’ I thought as I looked down at my hand. ‘That’s it.’ I didn’t cry, and I wasn’t all that surprised. I’m used to losing things. A ring is just a thing after all, isn’t it? Mine isn’t really all that valuable.
We ended up in Skipton, North Yorkshire, after Tim proposed to me. We burst into a jeweller’s shop with dried mud splatters up to the knees of our jeans after walking up and then running down Buckden Pike, eating a hasty pub lunch in The Buck Inn and then driving into town (Tim had a schedule all planned out). We were all enthusiastic to buy the ring, Tim had brought some cash. The jeweller pulled out a really ostentatious many-diamond-encrusted ring. It wasn’t really me and it was over double the amount Tim had in his pocket. ‘If you can’t afford the ring, you can’t afford the girl,’ the jeweller quipped. Still we refused, and asked to see something else.
The jeweller reached into the depths of his display case. ‘I think I have just the thing,’ and he pulled out a simple gold ring with a pinky, purplish stone. It reminded me a little of a ring I won in a cracker when I was about six years old. That was a pretend gold ring with a pink pretend pearl set in it – I think it was originally a flower, but I picked all the petals off from around the outside. I kept that thing for years until it got lost,or thrown away.
Anyway after the jeweller convinced us the stone was an actual gemstone – a spinel, otherwise known as a ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’ – we bought it. The jeweller told us to get two diamonds set either side when we got to our 25th anniversary.
As I looked at the empty space in the clasp, it made me think part of that story would be gone forever, the story wouldn’t get told very much anymore without the visual prompt, and only nine months away from 25 years. I prayed for it to be found, though I thought it may be lost forever.
Still we searched. I turned out pockets, shook out clothes, checked the car, my purse, even in my pirate wig and costume, searched the floor, the door mat, the path. We searched the floor of the church building and the bathrooms with a very good friend helping to sift through the garbage cans full of the ketchup and smashed eggs from the Kids Club games in the morning. Tim checked in u-bends underneath sinks, he went and walked along the street where I helped with the bus pick up. All along I had a line of a Coldplay song, ‘Everything’s not lost’ going annoyingly round in my head! Still, we found nothing.
We were amazed at how many people messaged us and prayed for us to find a little gemstone. So many stories of lost and found gemstones too. We kept looking for it into Sunday. One friend went back to the church building that afternoon and searched once again. She messaged me to say she hadn’t found it, but had a great time praying for our family!
On Monday I vacuumed the house and sifted through everything after.
Tuesday was my birthday. Tim gave me presents in the morning. He gave me some floral wellies (rain boots flown in from England). A little box was tucked inside one of them. I opened it to find the tiny spinel. Turns out Tim found it on Sunday lunch time. Just after I looked over the doormat for the umpteenth time, he looked down and it was there right in the middle. Maybe it was stuck in the grip of my shoe and fell out, though I was wearing entirely different clothes and shoes from the day before. Only God knows how it ever got there.
Tim’s theory is God saw we weren’t finding it where it was so he just made sure it moved to where it couldn’t be missed. Tim also decided if he found it on Sunday he’d wait until my birthday to give it to me (he also videoed me opening it without me knowing which is totally unfair). I’ve almost forgiven him for the time I spent searching on the day in between. I’m so thankful to have it back.
We celebrated. We shared the picture of the lost and found stone on Facebook. All week every conversation started with, ‘It’s amazing you found the stone!’ It felt like we were inside one of Jesus’ parables, like the parable of the lost sheep, or the lost coin in the gospel of Luke.
I don’t believe in luck. It’s not just lucky to have found that stone. It was a little miracle. I do believe God exists and He loves us. He loves because it’s who he is. He is concerned and sees the details of our lives, and we can call out to him for the big and the small things. I have no idea why my stone was found and other prayers are not answered. It seems such a comparatively trivial thing. I do know God used that little incident to show me again that he sees us and he cares. He sees Tim. He sees me. He cares about our marriage. He sees us all.
Everything’s not lost, because even if we do lose things or friends or family, He doesn’t lose us. We run from him sometimes, but he never stops seeking us out. I had almost given up looking for my gemstone, Jesus doesn’t give up with us. When we turn to him in repentance there are celebrations in heaven (Luke 15:7,10,32). We can be comforted when we’re feeling outcast or downcast because he is a God who sees us (Genesis 16:13). He pours out his grace on us. He is with us in it all – in struggle, in debt, in sickness, in good times and the bad times, longing for us to call out to him, to depend on him. He is the master of kept promises. He is faithful when so often we aren’t. We need to know this truth. We need to know him.
Everything’s not lost.