When I visited Ireland this past Easter break, I stopped at a souvenir shop in Dublin and picked out a Claddagh ring. Usually I don’t buy souvenirs or gifts for myself—I like to give them. This time, however, I did.
Wearing a claddagh ring is a very beautiful tradition. The heart stands for love, the giving hands for friendship, and the crown for loyalty. Worn on the right hand ring finger with the heart facing out is a sign that the wearer is unclaimed. Worn on the right hand ring finger with the heart facing in means that the wearer is in a relationship (dating, etc.). When the ring is switched to the left hand and worn with the heart facing out, that means the wearer is engaged. The ring on the left hand with the heart facing in means the wearer is married.
But I didn’t start wearing a claddagh to show my relationship status.
The meaning behind the heart, the hands, and the crown struck me in a special way. I realized that the symbolism of the ring assumed that I already had the love, friendship, and loyalty portrayed. One can’t give a heart one doesn’t have.
By the very act of having been created and being alive, I already have a natural amount of the virtues and worth portrayed by the claddagh. I need to perfect that friendship, loyalty, and love for the someone or something I eventually give myself to—but I already have a unique heart that beats and grows. Nothing—not even a relationship or lack of relationship—will change that. Every day that I live, my heart heaves with purpose and creation. Every action should be a witness to that, no matter who comes or goes in my life.
I don’t need a man to have a heart, but I do need a living heart to love a man.
I have a living heart, but it will only be so if I remember that I have it and live through it.
I started wearing a claddagh so that I would have a visible, tangible reminder of that fact.