Gladys and the Magic Ring

Once again, Gladys woke to a knock on her door, a cup of tea , and her morning meds. Yet again, it hadn’t been a good night. For all the usual reasons. For the ‘n’th time, Dr Palmer had changed her pain medication. And for the almost-‘n’th time, it had disturbed her continence pattern. She decided she’d talk to Nurse Tracey about this, but it would have to wait until what everybody else called  daytime.  

Meanwhile. Gladys began her daily battle with self-pity. It happened that two friends had called yesterday and had left her a parish magazine. She could no longer read for long, but her eye caught the vicar’s headlines,

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I wonder if he’s any idea how hard this is for me, thought Gladys. Then a little chorus skipped into her mind.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.”

40 years ago they used to sing it as a round in church. The vicar in those days used to turn to Gladys to lead off with her fine soprano voice.


“Gladys, that’s a beautiful wedding ring” said Emilio, touching her left hand as he took away her breakfast tray. Gladys noticed that Emilio, too, wore a ring. She began to look back wistfully to those days, 20 years ago when she, like Emilio, was part of a couple.

It was as if her thoughts were suddenly arrested by what she’d read and remembered earlier that day. Gladys said,

“Yes, I was very lucky to be married to Robert. He was a wonderful husband. He always provided for me, and put me first. He loved to work in his shed, and he was very handy with wood. He made lampstands and wooden carvings, some of them for me. He’d often spring a surprise. Every so often, he’d just announce we were going out for the evening. Sometimes it was for a meal, other times to dance. And he’d happily stay at home with the children whilst I went out to teach evening classes – embroidery, you know…

“I do so miss him, but I’m so grateful for all the years we had together…”


That afternoon, after work, Emilio opened his computer. Looking at his wedding ring, he went onto the porn site on which he’d spent far too long. “Are you sure you want to unsubscribe?” asked the website, before adding, “We’re sorry to see you go.”

As Emilio read Grace her story, he reflected on the lovely feel of a 6-year-old snuggling in her daddy’s arms, an experience he’d enjoyed far too infrequently in recent months. Then he went to work and cooked Imelda her favourite Filipino chicken curry dish with coconut milk, Kawaling Pinoy.

Imelda had had a gruelling shift on the hospital ward and had crawled into the house, exhausted. The smell greeted her at the door, sending a fresh burst of strength into her tired mind and body. Obviously, she thought, Emilio’s important computer exercises – as he called them – must have been put on hold tonight…

It was late when they got to bed. Tired though she was, Imelda opened her wardrobe and donned her lacy nightdress. And that night they gave themselves to one another in a way that hadn’t happened for a long, long time.


The following day, Emilio simply said to Gladys,

“Thank you for telling me about you and Robert. It made more difference to me than you can ever know.”

Bible References:- 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:4

One thought on “Gladys and the Magic Ring

  1. A good reminder of how we never know the impact our words have on someone. So encouraging John to know we don’t have to ‘preach’ to make a difference.

    Thank you.

    Ann x


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