It has been just shy of a month since my wife Robbi and I emptied our storage space. I had taken a senior management position with a health care center in rural southwest Idaho. Unexpectedly, we found ourselves making the move back home to Colorado. We moved in with my mother and the majority of our life’s possessions ended up in an eight by twelve-foot cinder block-lined storage space.
Now living in our own place, somewhat to my mother’s relief; we have spent three weeks living amongst monolithic piles of boxes. As we have found the time after work or on the weekends; most of these boxes have been opened and our prior life has been restored to us. Christmas has come early, as the two of us have discovered items that had been all but forgotten. Such was my case last week as I opened a box labeled “Jerry-Bedroom.”
At the bottom of the cardboard sarcophagus was a small wooden jewelry case. I opened the cherry wood lid and was thrilled by what was dormantly residing in it! I slipped the silver ring onto my finger slowly, enjoying all the facets of the moment. Looking down at my extended hand, I took in every detail of the dragon inlaid into a sea of black enamel. The proud head angled upward, the long tail curled down under the body, and the red coral-encrusted wing all called out to my very inner essence!
Coral has long been honored as a symbol of wisdom. Used as a talisman, it has historically protected the wearer against evil spirits. I remember first spotting this treasure in a well-lit display case at a specialty store in a small Colorado mountain town. Amazingly enough, this entire store was devoted to the dragon! Whether it was a t-shirt, a key ring, or a coffee mug; every single item was emblazoned with a dragon of some sort. I have not necessarily been a life-long dragon enthusiast; but on that particular day my dragon ring and I walked out the store’s door together, destined to be life-long companions.
Over the years, I have become increasingly devoted to the chivalric ideal. My childhood love of the King Arthur sagas evolved into the pursuit of the gentlemanly ideal. Today I find myself the Knight Commander of the Chivalric Order of La Mancha. I am also a Knight Chevalier in the Order of St. Isodore of Seville and a Knight Magistral in the Order of Nuestra Senora Santa Maria de Buenos Aires. Finally, I have had my named entered into the rolls of the Knights Templar of Tours. Yes, I also have a collection of replica medieval swords! No, I do not run around wearing a role-playing costume!
I cannot imagine what possessed me to pack away that special ring as we were leaving Idaho. It has been a cherished part of who I am, and yet in the rush of our move I had stashed it away. Since finding my old friend about a week and a half ago, I have begun gracing my right ring finger with this majestic image of the dragon.
Needless to say, a fair number of people have taken notice of my new adornment. After I explain the story behind buying the ring, the same question seems to be asked. “Why a dragon?” I always explain that I cannot be a knight without having a dragon to slay. In my case, the dragon was vanquished and then exiled to spend eternity on my ring. The response I get ranges from polite laughter to a bewildered or puzzled look!
This past week has been a period of pleasant reflection. I have been forced to ponder the same question asked of me recently. “Why a dragon?” I do not have an obsession with fantasy creatures. I do not have a damsel in distress to save; I released her from the evil tower eight years ago and married her. I am relatively sure that I am not a time traveler, unexpectedly transported to this point in history from 14th Century Europe! No, the answer is much simpler than most of us could imagine.
The dragon on the ring simply serves as a visual and spiritual reminder of who I am and what I stand for. I believe in the basic good to be found within every person I am honored to meet. I stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. I live every day to inspire the world through word and deed. My reward for this effort? I go to sleep every night, hoping that I have touched at least one human being and inspired them to better their life. I arise every morning with the challenge of finding that one person that I will touch!
What about you? What do you stand for? Do your words and deeds better those around you. Are you willing to stand up for what is right, simply because it is right? What do you proudly wear on your ring? If you like, I will gladly give you the name of that little shop in the Colorado mountains!