Welcome to the first guest blog featuring the 'Pictures of love' project, this has been written by Rev Andrew Dunlop, if you want to know more about him check out his blog. Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom, and don't forget that you can join in the project by sending me a photo via the info on the 'Pictures of love' page and also at firstname.lastname@example.org
I lost my wedding ring. I'd had it on as usual - I never take it off -when I turned up to an outdoor Karting Centre to enjoy a day team endurance racing, a celebration of someone’s birthday. It was a cold day. We were hanging around in the briefing area for quite some time waiting for the safety announcements and for the melting snow to be cleared off the track. Suddenly I looked down and noticed that my ring had gone. I retraced my steps from the car to the centre, via the burger van, looking for something shining in the snow. I even went through the paper towel bin in the men’s toilets. No luck. It was gone. Eventually I suited up and enjoyed the day’s racing (my team came last), all the time with this lost thing hanging heavy in my mind. Messages were left with the staff of the centre to call me if anything turned up and on returning home, I scoured the house and thoroughly went through my bag to no avail.
Arriving home, I was really quite gutted that I had lost my ring. It wasn’t the cost that annoyed me - a replacement ring would only cost about £150-200 and most of that would be covered by my home insurance. It was the item itself, as if a part of me was missing. I didn’t realise how much it had come to be a part of me until I lost it. I was reminded of the parable of the lady who lost a silver coin, searched high and low and threw a massive party for all her friends when she found it. This ring had been used at my wedding, with my wife making promises of commitment and fidelity “for richer, for poorer, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health... till death do us part”. The ring symbolised those vows, secure and unending. My marriage, and those vows were, of course, still intact. Nevertheless, it felt like something had been lost.
A week later my wife and I were packing and overnight bag for a weekend trip. Just the basic pyjamas and change of underwear needed. Picking up my bag, it fell open and out of a hidden pocket fell a couple of old leaflets and... my wedding ring. It must have slipped off my fingers during the karting trip whilst I was rooting around in the bag searching for something. Time to rejoice, to enjoy a weekend away, to share the good news on facebook, and see the ‘likes’ pile up.
"Imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbours: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!' Count on it—that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God." (Luke 15:8-10)