I just read an article about the “10 Most Expensive Engagement Rings.” Number 10 is Princess Diana’s ring, later presented to Kate Middleton. It comes in at a cost of $137,200 dollars. Yet, that is not even close in value to the number 1 ring. That ring was presented to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton. It is a 33.19-carat Asscher-cut diamond valued at $8.8 million. I don’t think any of those guys “went to Jared.”
I got engaged to Jim right around Thanksgiving of that year. I was very relieved when the proposal arrived. Truthfully, I had started to worry. My birthday is November 11th. ALL of my friends, many of whom were Jim’s friends as well, were telling me, “I bet you get a ring for your birthday.” I began to believe they knew something I didn’t.
November 11th arrived and we had a date. I dressed up, worked hard on the hair and make-up, just in case there was a photo of the “moment.” Dinner came – then dinner went. When he took me back to my college apartment he presented me with a pink box. It was long and narrow. I remember thinking, “I’ve never seen a ring in a box like that.” As it turns out, I wasn’t ever going to see a ring in a box like that.
It was a watch. It was a pretty nice watch. OK, I’m lying. It wasn’t. It was WAY too big, whatever metal was in it caused my wrist to break out in welts – and to be honest, IT WASN’T AN ENGAGEMENT RING! I tried to smile and say how much I loved that watch. I lied. I really hated that watch – it wasn’t a ring.
That night after Jim left I was instantly surrounded with my roommates. They too were excited to see my “gift.” They said nice things about my watch. They lied too. It wasn’t a banner birthday.
A couple of weeks later, I packed a picnic dinner and Jim and I went to a local park. (Cheap dates were essential in college!) After dinner, we got into his Mustang to return home. He started the engine – then turned it off. I thought he must have forgotten his Frisbee or something. Instead, he turned to me and said, “I think we should get married.” I said, “yes.” We went to Shipley’s donuts and bought a hot glazed donut to celebrate. They cost a dime back in that day.
We told my folks, we told his folks, and then we told our friends. Jim’s dad drove across town and gave Jim a check to help him cover the cost of my ring. That was the last time Jim would see his dad alive. A week later, he had a heart attack and passed away. Christmas that year wasn’t about my ring – we purchased that sometime in February.
Jim and I have shared 34 Christmases since 1979 and we have a lot of good memories. This Christmas will be my first without my dad. “Gifts” aren’t a big deal this year either. Some Christmases need to be about other things.
But there is something I want this year. Every year, The Denison Forum sends out an “Ask.” Jim wrote his Cultural Commentary about our ministry. You can read it and know why we ask for donations and find out what the money is used for.
Jim is more eloquent about such things. I would say this: Jim and I have been married and serving the Lord together for 33.5 years. Our sons are both in ministry as well. We are blessed to have a dedicated staff who think of the Denison Forum not just as a job, but as a way to serve God through their work.
We exist because of those of you who donate to this ministry. You enable us to do what God has called us to do. Essentially, the Denison Forum works to provide biblical perspectives on the cultural trends. We want to help people think biblically and live according to God’s standards for their lives. We work hard, we work carefully and the growth we have experienced this past year indicates that we work with God’s blessing.
Would you pray for our ministry and would you pray about an end of the year gift to support what we are doing? I like to tell people, “Your gift is tax deductible and quite frankly, we are able to do a lot of ministry for every dollar that is given.”
When I got my engagement ring 34 years ago, it was the only thing in the world I wanted for Christmas. This year, I can honestly say, the only thing I really want is the chance to keep working at what we do. Thank you for helping us offer God’s word to those who need it.