Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wedding Rings and the Concept of Home

 My wedding ring is a frequent reminder to me of the transient life that I live; a life where the concept of home is not a stable and fixed thing, like we have discussed here recently and in the past.

When I was first married and living in the US, my wedding ring was at home on my left hand. Even when we first moved to Russia two years later, still for a time my ring did not leave the comforts of its left-hand home. As I became comfortable with my new and drastically different life in Russia, my ring too found a comfortable new home in the culture of the right hand. 

Probably on our flight back to the US for our first furlough began the tradition of moving my ring from the right to the left, somewhere mid-way over the Atlantic Ocean. The tradition reverses itself when flying back from Seattle to Russia. I didn’t realize it when the tradition first began, but in so many ways it and my ring in general have been symbolic of my relationship with the idea of home.
For the first two years, I actually wore two rings; my actual wedding ring on whatever hand was most culturally appropriate, and a band on the other hand that would otherwise feel somewhat naked without it. If the wedding ring was "home" on one hand, the home of the other hand would feel abandoned. I compensated by having two rings, perhaps as to not deny the significance of the home temporarily put aside. In hindsight, I see how the two rings reflected my feelings about home as a new missionary. Home was in both places and my heart needed to claim both simultaneously in many ways, especially during our first years overseas.

Down the road came a time when I took off my extra band, leaving only my wedding ring on the right side. We were in Russia when I stopped wearing the other band, and I had finally begun to truly feel at home in this new place. Now when we head back to the US, the single ring moves to the left, where after a season of feeling out of place, it gradually settles into it's other home. The right hand also feels naked at first when the ring first makes its move, but it too gets used to letting the band live elsewhere. And then the tradition reverses when we go back.

My heart and my ring have a home in both places and though there are times when the switch from one to the other is followed by a time of feeling out of place and awkward, soon the awkwardness fades. Over the years I have become more comfortable with this two hand, two home life that God has given me, and I praise Him for it. Praise the Lord for the blessing of not only getting to have one but TWO earthly homes.

Ultimately though, I praise Him that though this concept of “home” is so fluid and at times confusing in this missionary life, we have a perfect and permanent home waiting for us with the Lord!

What has your experience been with adjusting to having two (or more) earthly homes?  Is there one place or multiple places on this earth that you consider your true home? How have your feelings about home changed since moving overseas? 


  1. I've had very similar thoughts. I think I tried switching my ring back the first time we went back, but it felt too awkward. For many years now I've just worn two rings. The real wedding ring is on my right hand, and my left hand also carries a significant ring. But I definitely feel like my earthly home is on this side of the world. I'm flexible, in that it doesn't have to be a specific building or city, but I do feel more comfortable in the Russian-speaking world.

  2. Your rings are symbolic of your life and the circumstances in which you have found yourself. When we finally leave this mortal coil we arrive safe, naked and alone in the home of our Lord. I think you made the right decision to keep just the one important wedding band and switch it between hands when needed.

    Verna Ford @ Jacobs The Jewellers