More Precious than Diamonds

Oct 15, 2012


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

As soon as my left hand grabbed the hot coffee cup I knew something wasn’t right. Maybe it was the subtle weight of the ring, or the familiar sparkle. Whatever it was, it was not there. Instead, I stared in awe at the four prongs jutting out from the ring next to my wedding band, now empty handed, revealing the gray tarnished white gold normally hidden beneath a diamond. Erin, my daughter-in-law, who was passing me the coffee as we sat at the Starbucks drive-up, caught my stare and followed it to the ring.

We didn’t say much. I think she was watching me more than the empty ring, waiting for my response to cue hers. We’ve heard of this kind of thing, how girls can be about their diamonds – reduced to rubble, humiliating ourselves to hands and knees in the dairy aisle of Stop and Shop (yes, I knew someone who did this. The diamond was not found). But somehow I just knew this was it. I would look for it, back-tracking through a large art museum, a parking lot made of tar with crushed glittery stones in it (I had to laugh when I saw it) and a restaurant. When we got home, we combed through the car, my pocketbook, the house. I couldn’t remember really seeing it last. But it was gone, the stone my husband had held out when he proposed to me, the diamond that had belonged to his grandmother, a large 2 carat plus stone that had survived three generations. Sorry Gram.

I’ve never been a “diamond” kind-of girl. I have to confess this so I don’t look like I’m trying to come across as Mother Theresa. I was a hippie before there were hippies. My mom said her side of the family was always kind of dreamy, crossing the Atlantic from Scotland in the 1700’s in pursuit of… dreams. The Murray clan settled on Edisto Island in South Carolina and became planters, prospering almost effortlessly through a windfall of fine cotton, Sea Island cotton, which was exported to France. We were never rich, like some planters, but we were known as being kind and fair. The theory is we were too dreamy, not quite as tethered to material gain as others. This explained why mom seemed to spend most of our childhood drinking coffee and staring out of the kitchen window, a Parliament slowly burning in an ashtray beside her. The house was clean and so were we, but she took little notice of furniture, drapes and jewelry. I never once heard her say she wanted something material. Her mind was elsewhere. And I grew up the same.

I always tell people, if you want someone to notice your new furniture, don’t ask me over. I might notice a month or two later that something looks a little different, but I just can’t put my finger on it. So when my husband gave me this oversized diamond, I really didn’t notice. The next day, I was excitedly telling a friend that I was engaged when she grabbed my hand and started screaming, “Oh my GOD!” This would be the first of many such embarrassing times for me. Like I said, it’s just not me.

When Erin and I had finished looking in the car, I asked her to pray with me and we asked God to take over the search. It’s His diamond, if He wants me to get it back, He has the means. A beautiful peace seemed to fill her living room, and she said, “Our treasures are in heaven, right?” which made me really happy because this girl is getting it. And that is so much more valuable than any earthly jewel.

I can’t even begin to imagine what heavenly treasure will look like. Somehow I don’t think it will be jewels as we know them, although certainly heaven will trump any crown or palace here. Streets of gold? Why not? But my guess is at least part of that heavenly treasure will come in the form of seeing loved ones there, or perhaps a stranger will say, “I was in your Sunday School class” or “I’m a friend of Erin’s” or “you told me about Jesus one day in an airport,” and God’s inconceivable plan of love and redemption will begin to unfold and spill over before our eyes, more glorious that a fountain of pure gold. There is simply nothing on earth to compare with His glory.

My wedding band is white gold and on the inside we had inscribed, “CB and Robin / 10-11-97 / Jesus is Lord” It’s alone on my ring finger now and I admit at first it felt a little strange without the big rock next to it. I made my husband promise he would not get me another diamond. I like just the band, the simplicity of its message, that after 15 years, we can still say, “Jesus is Lord.” When I called my husband up from North Carolina to tell him that the diamond was lost, he said, “We have Jesus, we have everything we need.” Dreams on earth, treasure in heaven, and a family around me that understands, that gets it. Everything we need, all that I want.