Several years ago, I went into a bookstore and saw several rings with sayings engraved in them. The one that caught my attention said simply “Fear Not.” I bought it on the spot.
At the time I was going through a very difficult time at work. There were some major restructurings taking place and–as can be imagined–the rumor mill was very active. It was already clear that there were going to be significant job losses, and none of us were certain who would survive and who would be leaving. One of the things that made the whole situation even harder was that this was at the headquarters of my faith tradition, so it was more than simply losing a job. Many of us had had a sense of calling to those jobs.
I needed something to help me deal with the situation. This way I could simply look down at my finger and be reminded that I did not need to be afraid. I could be reminded of my belief that I would not be walking alone…that God would be walking with me.
I didn’t always remember that. Sometimes the stress got to be too much. Sometimes I felt like no one cared.
Even then, I would glance down at my hand and see the ring…and be reminded that I was not alone.
Things have changed since then.
I have retired–and am enjoying my retirement. I have new people and projects that keep my busy. I’ve picked up some old dreams that I had set aside for many years.
But I still wear that ring–because even though I’m no longer dealing with the situation that was occurring when I bought the ring, there are always other situations that can cause me to fear if I allow it. Some of them concern family members I love very much–but who have made unwise decisions. Those are the hardest ones to deal with. I want to make the situation right…want to “fix” things…want to make it so that life doesn’t have to be so hard for them. I can’t. I can be a support, but they have to decide to make those changes.
And so I still look down at my ring for the reminder that I don’t need to be afraid. I believe that God will walk with me…and I believe that God walks with those I love as well. So…