Don't Give Me a Ring...

Stepping into the plans GOD has for you isn't always easy. You think it would be but there is such a struggle spiritually. As much as you want to be obedient, you face fears and fleshly desires that make it hard to fully commit yourself to HIS plans. Somehow, when all came down to it, I knew letting my dreams of being a reporter go would bring me happiness in the end. Truly it did, because while I gave that dream up, GOD gave it back to me in different package much later down the road. You see that's another problem we have...wanting things to happen in certain order or in a certain way. We can't see that sometimes we get exactly what we were wanting all along, just not the way we wanted it. 

Around the first of August, I gave my two weeks notice. I'm sure my news director was quite surprised since he was aware of my ambitions to be an on-air personality and he knew exactly what I knew, going to a market the size of Knoxville left little chance you'd ever make that a reality. It was a bittersweet moment in so many ways. I remember the feelings of nervousness that were clouding my throat, as I approached his office. Thoughts raced through my mind...he had given me my first job in television, taken me under his wing and worked on developing my skills to shine on camera; how could I do this now? The disappointment he felt was obvious as I spoke, but what could he say. I'd made up my mind and I knew without a doubt it was time to plant myself somewhere and stay.

From the moment I'd gotten that phone to call up to now, everything had been such a whirlwind. It all happened just so fast. My new job was to begin on August 18th, so I packed and planned to move back in with Big Earl and Jerrie while I looked for an apartment to rent or a house to buy. I knew I couldn't stay there indefinitely this time. It was time to be on my own. Earl helped as I moved back but we were still in that silly holding pattern. I, for the life of me, could not understand why he wasn't ready to move forward one way or another. We spent time together like always and every day I hoped and prayed for it to be the day that he would want to take our friendship to the next level, but it never came. However, after a few weeks passed, something else birthday.

As I settled into my new job and a new routine, everything felt perfect except that I still didn't know where I stood with Earl. I wanted to understand why GOD had allowed me to come back here only to be his "best buddy" again. I thought, maybe just maybe, my birthday would bring some sort of change. After all, I'd told the bridal shop that's when I needed my dress by, so perhaps it had some greater meaning that I couldn't see (**more on the dress next post**).

We made plans to go to UT game the day before my birthday, since I'd won tickets at work. Now, if you don't know Earl, while he may look like the star quarterback every girl dreams of dating in high school, he has absolutely no interest in football; so I had high hopes that by him agreeing to go it might mean something. But nothing. We went, I explained every thing that happened on the field and we went home. That was it. I was disappointed to say the least, but my birthday was tomorrow so maybe there was still hope all my dreams would come true.

The next day was Sunday, so off to church I went, hoping since it my birthday and the LORD's Day, that GOD would decide to shower me with blessings and I'd be in an actual relationship with Earl by night fall. When the service was over, everyone headed to Big Earl and Jerrie's for Sunday dinner. It was a tradition, I'd missed so much when I was in Bristol. It felt awesome to be...well, home. After everyone left and things had quietened down, Earl disappeared for a little while. Later he turned back up and asked me to come outside with him.

We were standing on the back porch and I thought, this was it! This was the moment he was going to tell me he'd figured everything out and he was ready to see what GOD had for us as a couple. Then he burst my bubble yet again.

I remember him standing there, his hands buried deep in his pockets, with a gaze that was locked downward. It was clear he was nervous and unsure of what to say and do. 

"Well, I got you something for your birthday." he managed to articulate to me.

"Oh, okay. What is it?" I inquisitively asked.

As he withdrew his hand from his pocket, he never looked up. "Here. It's not an engagement ring or anything, so don't think that."

I remember that sick feeling from a year ago creeping back into the pit of my stomach. Why was he handing me a small box? Why did he say that? Why couldn't he have told me he picked something nice out for me? Or Happy birthday, I hope you like this. No. Instead I got no eye contact and box shoved at me that I didn't really want to open now.

"Why would I think that? There's usually a question that follows somebody handing you a box." I rudely told him as I opened it.

Positioned in the slot inside was a beautiful, small diamond cluster ring. It did somewhat favor an engagement ring, but at the same time not really. I feigned a smile as best I could and said, "Thanks."

I'm sure he sensed my disappointment, so he finally looked up and tried to explain himself, "I just didn't want you to get the wrong idea. I mean, I care about you. We're friends and you're special to me so I wanted to get you something."

"Thanks. It's nice." I poignantly told him.

Somehow the awkward situation came to end and he left. I took the ring and put it on but couldn't help feeling disgruntled. All day long I looked at it and the more I looked at it, the more I resented it. Every sparkle it radiated, felt like a jab in my gut, reminding me of what I didn't have. I didn't want a ring...I wanted someone to love me. I didn't want to be his special friend, I wanted to be his girlfriend. By the end of the evening, I'd made my mind up...I hated this ring and what it represented. I  had every intention of giving it back and letting him know that.

Everyone had gone to a birthday party at some church members house later that night. When I got there I headed straight for him. When I walked up, I looked him straight in the eyes, I took the box out and I handed it to him, "I really appreciate you buying me this, but I can't accept it. I really don't want it. Buy me a necklace or earrings or whatever, but don't give me a ring until it means something."

Then I turned and walked away.


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