Monday, December 27, 2010

How do you know if it's "the right one"?

In recent weeks, television viewers have been inundated with jewelry ads. They have failed to move me. As far as I'm concerned, Jared can keep their chocolate diamonds (too hard to digest), and Kay can keep that idiot who rewards his girlfriend with diamonds for being afraid of thunder (next he'll feed her when she begs for food). And as much as I loved Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, when I look at Jane Seymour's open heart designs, I can't help but see glittering fishhooks.

But I'm picky—ask any of the owners of the jewelry stores within a two-hour driving radius of my home. I visited them all after Dave asked me to marry him almost eleven years ago. Some might say I was as unforgettable as the feel of grit on sandpaper. I didn’t set out to earn a reputation. I’m simply a person who struggles to find meaning, and since there isn’t an occasion more meaningful than a wedding, I struggled a lot. In public.

Perhaps the jewelers would have been more empathetic if I’d told them the whole story—that I’d done this all before, eighteen years ago. That it hadn’t ended so well. That my new beau recognized me as a potential life partner right away because of the newfound honesty with which I expressed my vision for my life—a vision that almost word-for-word echoed thoughts he had written down himself, years before. With that knowledge, certainly anyone could understand my need to find the perfect ring, right? I mean, past childbearing age, why remarry at all unless the union adds meaning to your life?

Since the average length of each store visit was already pushing the one-hour mark, I spared jewelers the narrative and picked my way through dozens of rings that any less demanding woman, they’d quietly inform me, would be thrilled to own. Dating again had offered a similar quandary—it’s hard to find the right one when you have no idea what “the right one” looks like. The ubiquitous answer: you know it when you find it.

I had loved my first engagement ring, a round-cut diamond with two smaller stones on either side, and kept finding myself attracted to similar rings. But wasn’t this why I’d undergone therapy in the first place—to break the habit of seeking out the same old relationships? I forced myself to look at styles to which I’d never before been attracted—marquis and pear cuts, unusual shapes that required a matching band, estate jewelry, different kinds of stones.

While shopping for rings that spring, one exasperated chain store owner told me to come back later—much later, in July—for his setting event, when he would have at least a thousand different settings to choose from. “It’s your only hope,” he’d said, a smirk on his face. But Dave and I had planned a September wedding, and I’d been hoping to feel engaged, complete with ring, for longer than two months.

“If only you could describe the ring to me,” said another jeweler, pulling out a pile of catalogs. If only. I half-heartedly flipped through the pages. These rings looked so...flat. I knew one thing—I wouldn’t find what I wanted on paper.

In fact, I didn't find what I wanted at all until the voice of God spoke to me. More on that in the next post.

Have you ever recognized something as "right" the moment you saw it? I'd love to hear your story.


Jerry Waxler said...

Suspense! Now I have to tune in to the next post because I can't wait to hear what God said to you. I used to think I and my zany "spiritual" friends were the only ones who listened for a transcendent message until I started listening carefully to the people around me and realized we wasn't alone. The problem was that people don't talk about it. I keep looking in memoirs for such cosmic moments, and now I am waiting to hear yours.


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Kathryn Craft said...

Jerry: I, too, only suspected others might have similar experiences. This will be my theme over the next several posts.

Lisa R. Tomarelli said...

Nice hook!

As for the question: the "right one" is when it's something I think about even after I left the store. I went looking for a small side table without specifications one day, and as I wandered the furniture store, I found a black round table which fit the bill. I didn't know I was looking for a drum table, or even that it should be black, but I was intrigued by the lack of corners, the smooth surfaces, and the fact that the drum represented my musician father who I admire. I left the store...but went back and picked it up.

Fifteen years of marriage, and I can still remember the sense of "the right one" after I met this man named Joe who was a date fix-up I never intended to meet. He's still the right one for me.

Kathryn Craft said...

Awesome story, Lisa, thanks for sharing it. I like the way you drew the line between impulse purchase and true "gut-knowing."

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on another excellent post, Kathryn!

I think we've all had similar feelings in the past...that feeling is that something, or someone, is the "right" one.

Personally, I've always attributed that feeling to "synchronicity," which is probably just another vaguely useless word-label Carl Jung hung on a process that's just as mysterious as anything else in this big, weird, wonderfully bizarre Universe...

I know I've had that unusual but thrilling experience of looking for a particular book, or a particular reference, and having that information literally jump up and bite me on the nose at the EXACT moment I needed it. It's uncanny. It's also (by all accounts) completely unquantifiable, and therefore falls into a grey area that exists just beyond the reach of most mainstream scientific research.

All of which is just my way of saying, whether you attribute this feeling to "God" or "The Universe" or "synchronicity" or anything else, this phenomenon truly does exist, and I thank you for continuing to write about it in such an inspiring way!!! I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts!


Kathryn Craft said...

Bob: I totally dig the notion of synchronicity. I love the sound of it, and the way it jives with "electricity"--you just KNOW something special is happening because you can feel the vibration. It charges you. It makes you feel connected to something larger than yourself.

I was a scientist by training and I'm all about the quantifiable experience. But there's another part of me that longs for the "deep knowing"--that gut-level knowing that does not require a control group or data collection. I think it can be just as powerful, you know?