The Wedding Ring

wedding ring

I’m a big fan of the show, “Blue Bloods.”  Maybe it’s because I’ve also always been a fan of Tom Selleck from back in the Magnum P.I. days.  But I’ve come to appreciate every character on the show over the past few years.

So, you can usually find me curled up on the couch with 2 or 3 animals every Friday night at 9 PM watching the professional and personal interactions of the Reagan family dynasty.  (Yes, we widows lead exciting lives…)

Detective Danny Reagan, one of Frank’s (Tom Selleck) sons lost his wife tragically on the show a while back.  So, he is now a single dad trying to raise two teenage boys.  Sometimes he’s successful, sometimes not so much.  But through it all, he is clearly heart-broken over the loss of his sweet and sassy RN wife, Linda.

So, there are definitely episodes that take Danny through some of his grief that are hard for me to watch – and I relate to the pain and loss he is experiencing.

But I was NOT prepared for a portion of the show this past Friday night.  Linda has been gone for over a year and Danny is still wearing his wedding ring.  I completely relate to that.  I still wear my wedding ring, in part because I still feel like I’m married to Dale even though he’s been gone 18 months this week.

In this scene, Danny has gone to visit a woman who is some sort of psychic or counselor or combination thereof.  She comments on the fact that he still wears his ring.  He looks a bit sheepish as he acknowledges that with a little nod.  She then “reminds” him that Linda is gone now.  (REALLY?  Do you think he’s not aware???)  Then she tells him it’s time to stop wearing it.

She brings a little velvet jewelry pouch over and he slowly removes the ring and drops it in the pouch.  I burst into tears!  Where did that come from?  I was SO unprepared for that reaction – and for the visceral, immediate nature of it.

In a split second, I experienced what I assumed Danny was feeling – the physical, visual acknowledgment that his marriage and relationship were over.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, like the body slam that it was.  I couldn’t stop crying.  Just one more reminder that this grieving process can go on and on and on…a forever grief.

So, where do I stand on this whole wedding ring removal issue?  Clearly, I’m not ready to take the step Danny took!  I do know that Dale’s gone, that he’s not coming back.  I now mark “widowed” on any forms I have to fill out.  I do know that my marriage is over.  There’s no disillusionment there.  I’m reminded every moment of every day that he’s not here any more.

And yet, I can NOT bring myself to take that step.  I know that I probably will…some day.  But today isn’t that day.  I know some people remove it as soon as their loved one dies; and I know some who still wear their ring, on their left hand, 30-some years after their husband died.

As with everything in this grieving process, it’s our call.  Unlike the “psychic-counselor” of “Blue Bloods,” I don’t want anyone to tell me when it’s time.  It’s a very personal decision and even I have no idea when “it’s time.”  I trust that God will let me know.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31

“Feelings…Nothing More Than Feelings”

Image result for free image musical notes

One of the downsides of being a musician is that almost everything reminds me of a song. You have to go all the way back to 1975 for this one. For those of you who know it, I apologize already if it became an ear worm for you! If you don’t know it, count your blessings…

But “feelings” is one of the topics I want to discuss in today’s blog post. This may resonate a bit more with the female gender, but I do hope there’s something here for everyone.

I don’t know about you all, but for as long as I can remember, I have taken an inventory of my day every night when I went to bed. That’s when I would, in my mind, scroll through the activities and emotions of the day that had come to an end and settle on a rating of mostly good or mostly bad.

And that rating would often dictate if I felt happy or sad about the day. From there, I would generally head into my prayer time and talk with God about my day. This conversation ranged from gratefulness for a good day, to repentance over any of my thoughts or actions that were less than kind, to pleading with God for something I felt I needed, to intercession for someone else’s needs. And often it was a complicated mixture of all of that.

I’m grateful that the happy endings of those days far outweighed the sad ones. But the point is – my emotions dictated whether I felt good or bad about the past 24 hours. And I honestly never thought there was any other way to gauge the success or failure of my day.


I still do a sort of emotional inventory at the end of my days. And I have some of those same conversations with God. But regardless of the kind of day I’ve had, or the good times or joy I’ve experienced, once I’m left alone with my emotions as I retire for the day, there is ALWAYS sadness.

It’s not what I want, but it’s what’s left when the busyness of the day is stripped away. I can’t not (yes, I want the double negative here…) miss Dale in the depths of my soul at the end of each day for the past nearly 18 months. It’s when the tears come and when the heartache is deep and profound. For me, it’s when the real work of grieving is done.


It’s also where I’ve learned to lean the most on God. And not only am I leaning on Him, but I’ve begun to FOCUS on His character and His promises. It’s where I put the emotions aside and rest in the knowledge that I am a Child of God. That He loves me with an everlasting love. That He wants only good for my life, even if that comes through pain. It’s where I’m reminded that He will make EVERYTHING right in the end.

And maybe most importantly, I understand that the emotions I’m feeling don’t change His character or His promises one iota. I am not defined by my emotions. I am defined by who I am in Christ. And I find joy and hope in the promises He so clearly lays out for me in His Word.

Emotions really are fleeting. One or two silly events can send us soaring to the mountaintop, or crashing down into the valley. It can be an exhausting way to live. And it isn’t what God wants for us.

I’m not saying we ignore our emotions, or fail to validate someone else’s. God did create us with those emotions. What I am proposing, however, is that we limit the power they have over us by switching our focus to GOD’S power. When you feel your emotions sending you on a downward spiral, consciously and purposefully meditate on the Good News of the Gospel.

I can tell you it’s the ONLY way that I bring some balance into my emotional life. And when your days end with sadness, you too can be filled with hope again if you focus on the only One Who can bring true happiness.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV