When you are working in a profession that you care deeply about, you don’t always expect that an event in your workday will significantly change your outlook on life. In jewelry making I use my hands. In retail I translate the work of my hands and other jewelry artist’s work to the consumer. When that work lovingly caresses the hands of someone else, and it is received with great appreciation and joy, I am always deeply gratified I have chosen my craft.
It was a normal business day of showing my wares — an enchanting summer day. The couple who chose to enter my store were looking for something special. They were looking for something with opal for his hands. We specialize in Australian Boulder Opal. Most people don’t know much about it. He did. And, he saw something he wanted.
Later, for a special surprise, to mark a special moment in this couple’s journey together, his partner purchased the item he had chosen.
Subsequently, a few months later, they returned to the store, he wearing this beautiful ring, his gift. We took the ring outside to enjoy its phenomenal beauty in the sun. “Please don’t take offense, but your partner has beautiful hands,” I said to his wife. She smiled a smile with a hidden something.
“You don’t know what these hands have been through,” he said, discreetly showed me the fine scars circling his entire wrists. “An accident, in a helicopter, years ago, I lost them.”
I looked in his eyes with wonder. I held those hands with utter respect and awe. That ring nestled serenely in an extraordinary place, in an extraordinary moment, suited just to his hands.
I felt humbled and very grateful for the reminder that we are all so much more than our purchases.
(Poscript: That ring went to Iraq with him and served faithfully with its wearer.He returned safely to the U.S. and said, he never took it off.)