Monday, September 15, 2014

{The Ring} Personal

It's different the second time around. You plan more things together in terms of marriage. Being a wedding photographer and shooting 25+ weddings a year, I have luckily been witness to many, many weddings. I've seen a lot of different styles. Different dresses. Gorgeous venues. Stunning rings. Different strokes for different folks. I came to the same conclusion no matter how magnificent that short-lived day is... that day is about those two people. Not the elaborations or the customizations. Strip everything else away - and those two hearts are the only thing that will make or break that marriage. Nothing else.

I'm an artist. So I tend to lean towards the atypical for my own preferences. I probably want what most brides don't... thankfully, brides don't need my opinion of what I personally love to capture their wedding day.  But what about when a photographer/artist is a bride? Usually... the atypical is at hand. Ha. Literally. 

The first time we talked about an engagement I told him three things:
1. I didn't want traditional.
2. I wanted to pick out my own ring.
3. I preferred it to be an antique, specifically art deco - and a different gem other than diamond, predominately.

It's not that I dislike diamonds. I think they are beautiful. I am just... well, an old soul with maybe a different {and learned} view of what actually makes love last. It isn't the ring. Or the diamond itself. Or its measure. The societal expectations of what defines love are more often fairy-tale than real. Love is not defined by geology. It's not even defined by the very ring it symbolizes. If you need a ring to prove what your love is - it's not the lack of a ring that's your problem. Your success in a marriage will be given the same odds, no matter what circles your left finger. A rock or a literal rock, same odds. The ring is a reminder. A beautiful glance that he chose you over many. That because of that choice, he will continue to choose you over many. That he will be faithful to you - and you owe that fidelity to him in return. That he will grow old with you, through the aging bones and thinning flesh. Through the health and sickness. The laughter and tears. The wins and losses. That he will witness your journey, public and private. The gemstone shouldn't define or determine the commitment. Some of the most beautiful commitments are ringless.

I have seen sooooo many gorgeous rings over 9 years of shooting weddings. But you know what? My very favorite ring was one shaped like a bread tie, to symbolize the original bread tie he put on her finger. No diamond. No stone. Just a band that literally looked like a bread tie. Now that... that melts my heart more than any stone. There's a story there.

What is my ring's story? Well... I don't know where it started, somewhere in the 1920s as an engagement ring. An almost century old ring {  } .... it came from a jeweler on the East coast. 18K white gold, blue flask antique moonstone cabochon in a bezeled setting, with six diamonds surrounding it ... beautifully different. And to my delight, with what appears to be butterfly shaped motifs in each corner! So why did I pick this ring? He has called me his 'Moon and Stars' from our beginning. He has repeatedly said these words to me many times over and over, most often when texting me goodnight ...

"Goodnight My Moon and Stars - there would be no light in the darkness without you..."

I have read those words countless times. We met in one of the lowest's of valleys - thankfully, at the same time to find each other. It's a dark place trying to regain your faith in a lost world. Life sometimes leaves us scarred, searching for bits of faith in dreams we have lost and in hopes we have abandoned. Stuck in reverse, facing the losses but somehow finding enough light for the next step. You can't fix a wound in the dark, but you can mend it in the light. One of my favorite quotes: "The wound is the place where the Light enters you." - Rumi

I was the light in the dark that was leading him? He was the reflected light that was healing me.

My 'Moon and Stars' ring is a reminder of - a moon{stone} surrounded by diamond{stars}. It is a reminder of my role in our commitment to one another. I am a part of his universe, and he is part of mine... with that is honor, but also a great responsibility to provide balance; to cast light with each sunset God grants on the rest of our days together.

This ring may have been formed for one specific woman and her journey - who I am assured had great taste - almost a 100 years ago. But it would travel its course and eventually find its way to me... I hope she knows how much I love it and him.