I need your help. About 72 hours ago, I lost my wedding ring.
We Craigs took to Southern California this last week. We visited family and friends and celebrated the fact that we weren’t melting on the surface of the sun (otherwise known as our home town of Las Vegas). And a particular highlight for me was our visit to Zuma Beach.
Zuma Beach, just north of Malibu, was the Mecca of my youth. From my earliest childhood memories to the social gatherings of my adolescence, from family “beach days” to dates and church activities, a single day at Zuma felt like an entire summer itself. We’d arrive at the beach, lay out the beach blankets and towels, and then get out the food as if we were going to have lunch first; only to be overcome by the exhilaration of that huge ocean, and go running headfirst into a wave. Then, an hour later, waterlogged and with clear sinuses from the salt water, we’d drag ourselves onto the sand and eat like it was the first meal we’d been given since floating to shore from a deserted island. We’d bury ourselves in the sand, throw a Frisbee around, dig for sand crabs, build sandcastles, and wish we never had to go home.
I hadn't been in years, and I was thrilled to take my family there again, building up in my mind the hope of something that could never be accomplished – creating for them, in a single afternoon, the same love and warmth and fondness for this coastline that I held in my own heart.
My children did not disappoint as they seemed to inhale the atmosphere of this hallowed shore; building forts in the sand, boogie boarding, asking if we could live on the beach forever.
I eventually headed into some deep water by myself and was enjoying the nostalgia. Then, to my delight, Katie actually came out into the water to join me. It was probably the first time we had frolicked like that since our honeymoon in Hawaii. I was showing her how to finesse her way around the waves – jumping over them or diving under them, depending on where they were breaking. She asked me to show her how to boogie board. And then…as if heaven were shining down on us…three dolphins swam by, just on the other side of the waves. I’m not kidding. And it was pretty awesome. It was just about as perfect as it could have been – out in the water with the love of my life, playing in the waves of the beach that held so much history for me…
…and then I looked down at my hand.
And I just stared at it.
I was in complete denial. What had happened was clear, but my brain was just not letting it pass the visual of looking at my naked hand. It was as if my brain was telling itself, “Stare harder, and that will bring the ring back.” Or as if somehow, if I looked at my hand long enough, it would provide a clue as to where the ring might be.
I looked up at Katie. “I lost my wedding ring.”
She looked back at me, same expression I had. Kind of a lost, surreal look.
And then I actually started looking at the water around me, trying to see all the way to the sand. I started turning around and looking. Then the more I looked around me, the more I realized how large this body of water was – even just the water around me – and that there was no way I was going to locate it.
I had no idea when it had fallen off. How far the current had already carried it away. If it had gone out to sea or was buried in the sand.
It was gone.
Abbie, not knowing what had just happened, snapped this photo from shore.
And I was horribly sad. But I was…something else, too. I’m not sure exactly what I was feeling.
On the one hand, it’s a piece of jewelry. On the other hand, it was almost an appendage. I looked at that ring everyday and remembered the day, almost 17 years ago, when Katie gave it to me. I’ve been conscious of it every day for 17 years, and thought about the feelings it brought me when Katie put it on my finger in the Salt Lake Temple.
Nothing has changed. No covenants, no love, no health, nothing has altered all the good stuff. Life is no different. But my wedding ring is gone.
Notice the beautiful, shiny ring on my hand.
Can anybody more accurately articulate for me this bizarre feeling?