Monday, June 6, 2011


My brother Mike, his wife Caroline, and their two children Christopher (4) and Emily (2) flew in for an extended visit.
The first morning they were here Mike gave me a gift.
He gave me a ring. It's white gold with a one carat diamond. It belonged to our great-grandmother on my mother's paternal side.

Before I can utter a thank-you, he says, "Grandpa gave it to me a long time ago. He told me that it was a big diamond but it had a crack in the heart of it. It's flawed, so it's pretty much worthless."
I flinch.
A priceless, worthless ring passed down through the generations.
I put it on.

The days go by quickly with company, and there are messes and mayhem, and I struggle and strive to love like Christ. In the midst of all this there's mourning. My mom's dear friend passed away. Her friend's name was Mary, and she was a blithe, joyful spirit, full of the love of God. So on Saturday, Mom and I left the children, siblings, and grandchildren, and slipped away to Mary's funeral. The video clips of her family talking were extremely touching, but one thing stood out to me. Her kids talked about loving her, but they also talked about arguing with her, being angry with her, and butting heads with her on different occasions. She wasn't perfect. She was wonderful, she was a godly woman, but she was real.

So Sunday morning at breakfast, I told the kids about the funeral. I happened to glance down at the ring my brother gave me. The analogy hit me, "You know, Uncle Mike, told me that this ring is worthless because it's cracked, but he's wrong. This diamond is just like us, flawed in the heart. Mary wasn't perfect but her cracks gave Jesus a place to shine through. Jesus can shine through our imperfections, too." The kids nodded slowly, as they processed this information. Grant broke the silence, "Then you can always wear that ring mommy and remember that everyone is cracked open and it's good."

An hour later we sat in church. A whole row of my family worshipped together. Grant snuggled up next to me and during the service ran his finger along the surface of the ring, feeling the edges of the crevice. My immediate thought was to pull away, I didn't want him to get cut on the flaw. But no, the ring is to remind me that I am cracked open as well ,and that my children may very well be victims of my jagged edges. I don't recoil from them in order to save them from wounds, I pray for God to bind up any gashes that I, in my sinfulness, may make. But I let them know me, flaws and all. We stand to sing and instinctively one of my hands rests on my son's shoulder and the other, the diamond ring hand, the flawed, cracked, priceless hand raises high to the Lord.

Several of Mary's family members spoke of having visions of her going to Heaven and they said she was beautiful, shining, perfect.
Someday the diamond will have no flaws.
But until then, I wear the ring and remember,
"We're all cracked open, and it's good."

The flawed ring and the flawed soul will pass down through the generations, but so will the grace and the blessings. Thank you Lord.

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