by David Sisler

I'm sure you've noticed it. It is a proven fact: as you get older, gold wedding rings shrink. Hey, it's a better explanation than admitting you are gaining weight!

I overheard a conversation between a jeweler and a lady whom I guessed to be in her middle 60s.

"I can't get my ring off," she said. "I'd like you to cut if off, please."

The jeweler selected a ring saw and quickly cut through the soft metal. Then with plyers, he pried it open and the ring dropped off of her finger.

"We can resize that," the jeweler said. "Let me measure your finger."

The woman did not immediately respond. Instead she looked at her left hand, fingering the white, indented tatoo.

"In 46 years that's the first time I've ever had that ring off. I sort of feel naked without it," she said.

The jeweler repeated his offer to resize the now cut, misshapen ring, assuring her that when the job was finished, the ring would look as good as the day she first put it on.

"No," the lady finally answered. "We'd been married 46 years."

When she hesitated, the jeweler said, "I'm sorry," ready to extend polite sympathy for the woman's loss.

She shook her head and continued, "He's got himself a new woman. I don't ever want to wear this thing again." And with that she picked up what was supposed to have been a symbol of eternal love, a life-time relationship, dropped it in her purse and walked out of the store.

I read about a woman in Tennessee, who, at 10 a.m. one morning, answered the door bell at her home. She kept the chain on and looked out around the four inch opening. The man standing there was a stranger.

"May I come in and use your telephone?" he asked.

"No, you cannot come in," she replied, "but if you will give me the number I'll be happy to call any number you want."

The man kicked the door, the frame splinter, the chain pulled loose and he forced his way into the woman's house. For the next several minutes he beat her fiercely. When her pastor went to visit her in the hospital he did not recognize her, so horrible was the beating.

If you were God, what would you do? How would you punish the philandering husband? How would you punish the mugger?

Most of us would like to be God and some time or another. I know I have been the President of the United States on several occasions: "If I were President, I'd send the Marines over there and let them kick some butt and take some names." I have been a United States Senator more than once: "If I were in the Senate, I'd see that some decent bills were passed instead of all this pork-barreling special-interest garbage." And so have you. It isn't that big a step to wishing you had Ultimate Power.

It would be an incredible joy to learn that the white tatoo has completely faded from the woman's finger and that her heart has completely healed. It would please me greatly to learn that she has found an incredibly loving man who treats her as she deserves to be. And I would surely be glad to hear that her husband was dumped by his new playmate and is now destitute. If I were God, I could fix it just like that.

I would arrange an old fashioned blanket party for the beaten woman's attacker: wrap him up in a blanket and get a dozen men, good and true, to kick the stuffings out of him. He would have no chance to resist and he would be beaten to the point where he would remember for the rest of his life what it had been like to be a whole man. If I were God.

Interestingly the lady from Tennessee wrote a journal as she began to recover. "The greatest test of courage," she said, "is to bear defeat and not lose heart. This thought took root in my heart months ago, and springs forth daily to nurture me. Suspect this latest upset will benefit me much. Hate to count blessings by distresses, but seems to be a fairly accurate method."

In another entry she wrote, "Still under doctor's care, but have a good brain scan now, can nearly walk straight, and can remember most of the time what not to say. Strange how people feel that a senseless attack such as mine will change your commitment to God. I found that my commitment to God was the most valuable judgement I had ever made never underestimate it."

Since I will never (and you can be glad of it) get the chance to be God (and I am certainly glad that you won't either) I have often wondered what God must think when he looks down at all of this. Then I remember that he looks at us he looks at me through an old, rugged cross, and through the blood of his Son, and says, "You ask for my forgiveness? I will forgive you for Jesus' sake."


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 8/16/97

Copyright 1997 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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