Smeagol clasped the ring in his gangly fingers and with a glint in his pale green eyes, uttered, “My precioussssss.”
This often joked-about representation of how much one object can turn into the idol of one’s passions can be a beacon of truth to Christians. Smeagol wanted nothing more than to have his “precious,” and the absence of his precious tormented him.
While the nature of the “One ring” in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was inherently evil, the lesson is more transcendent.
Christians are coveting a ring of their own. The most sought-after piece of jewelry for a Christian female is that diamond engagement ring. This ring symbolizes that all is right in the cards of love and that the girl is truly loved and cared about.
Often accompanied by a romantic proposal, this ring should be the end result of all relationships. Failure to obtain a ring, be it a “promise” ring or the official engagement ring, would thus lead to a wandering piteous single life much reminiscent of Smeagol’s.
We heard Dr. Langan in Windows testify that those who are engaged are in the minority and most of the campus falls into the single category. And speaking from the standpoint of being recently engaged, I find this whole obsession with gooey romance a little disturbing.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – I got engaged Christmas Eve to my boyfriend of four years. He does not go to Eastern and everyone here probably thought I was one of those unattached girls who never had or never wanted a significant other.
As I watched numerous couples get engaged over the years, I was tormented by my “just-dating” status. I’m wondering what all the fuss was about. Being engaged did not change our relationship – we still fight and I’m still an hour and a half away.
Others’ perceptions of me changed, as I was no longer seen as an individual, but as another half of a whole. Since my engagement, I have thought deeply on the nature of marriage, our society’s obsession with romance and how younger Christians view the institution of marriage. Some fear the ring as a life sentence of commitment to one person, the metaphorical ball and chain. The ring threatens to define them and to steal their individual identity.
And like Smeagol, being known by two names and never fully identifying with either. For a woman, once she accepts the ring, she also accepts a new identity as “Mrs. So and So.”
Some women fully embrace the duality of marriage life and are satisfied with picking companionship over independence. They give all of themselves into the role of wife and mother. This affinity is not wrong, but it should not be the only sanctified viewpoint.
Another facet of the issue reveals that the modern-day woman is being encouraged to buy herself that diamond ring (worn on the right hand) and transform it into a symbol of fierce independence and freedom from male domination.
These women chart their own course and sail their own path. The bigger the stone is, the stronger the woman’s commitment to herself.
When seen in this context, the ring also whispers lies. It becomes a symbol for decadence above simple living and measures love by the carat.
Then there are those of us who refuse to fully align with either of the above identities these rings promise. We see the ring as powerful and representing a partnership that should be highly respected and cultivated. We do not believe that we should lose ourselves, but grow into ourselves by the union to our future husbands. We see the ring not as the final goal of a relationship, but a new chapter in our lives.
We see motherhood not as a trap or safety net, but as a challenge and a privilege. We do not come to college seeking an MRS degree but to better equip ourselves to provide for our families. We see the role of wife, not as simply a servant of the house, but as a partner in life.
The true nature of the ring was intended for good things, but as the world stole it away, its intent was twisted. The ring is a symbol of love, not a coveted object that becomes the indication of love.
The measure of its carat does not quantify the measure of commitment or love. We should hide our rings away from the world and keep close the true intent of its meaning.
Otherwise, we will always be identified by our wedding rings, and therefore always be under scrutiny and susceptible to those dark forces that wish to break the bond of “true” love.
Only when Frodo let go of the ring did he find peace, and only when we abandon the world’s meaning of marriage and engagement will we find the ability to be fully content in whatever station of life we are.