This is really personal...
As the founder of 31Four, it’s nothing new to pray for our customers. In fact, we always pray for the intentions of those for whom we make jewelry--we even include prayer intentions as part of our online order form. These are your stories, so we want you to be a part of them.
But I was so overwhelmed with the following experience that I thought I should share.
I made this beautiful ring, and immediately started selling them after posting them on social media. One of the first ones I sold was to a customer who ordered one to be made a very special intention. We were asked to pray for all the unborn babies. So as we melted the metal down to a liquid and ultimately formed this piece into our mold, it was my humble instruction to pray for all the babies in heaven that never got to make it to earth.
So, I did. As I started my oxy gas blowtorch in my studio, I prayed for this intention. I prayed for this person whom I know who is the mother of babies who never made it to earth, babies who are now in heaven. As the flames shot out--turning blue as I added more oxygen, roaring as I adjusted to a reducing flame--I was surprised that I was even praying for my own baby who never got to be born. The truth is that I hadn't really had a chance to grieve this person. This part was very personal and special. The room was silent except for the roar of this gigantic flame, and it was hot and I was sweating and creating and overwhelmed with emotion. Truthfully I can’t even really put into words how powerful this experience was, but for those of you who have had the same experience I think you will understand.
Then in addition to this special intention of jewelry for this special order, because we are a manufacturer, I was also filling an internal order, creating an extra flask of these rings to be sold at a later date. But as I melted more metal, I found that I was once again praying for the same intention over these new rings, asking Mary to intercede, to help influence the minds of those who might be contemplating their own children's lives. For the babies to know that we do love them.
Then I had the sudden realization that Mary is their mother until we get there. She is the mother there opening her arms for them, holding them, comforting them as only a mother could do, until we finally get to meet them. I continued to pray that these babies would all know that they are cared for. Strangely, holding my oxy-fuel blowtorch heating to about 2,000 degrees F, I felt so powerless.
So I prayed that as we melt this metal and forge these rings, that we might warm the hearts of those cooled by the cold calculation of the secular world. I was trying to melt hearts with a blowtorch.
But I kept melting metal. And I kept praying that those who wear these rings might evangelize themselves. That they might spread the word. That these rings might be a symbol, or a token. That I could create pro life jewelry. That I could further the pro life cause.
But then I quenched the flask (and for those who are not in the jewelry industry, you may be surprised to hear that during this amazing process we have a gigantic aluminum kettle full of room temperature water that goes immediately to boiling and steaming--it’s very cool--that’s because it goes from, say, 75 degrees and suddenly has plunged into it a 1,000 degree flask of molten metal.) So it is not completely unnatural that at this moment I realized I did have power. Strangely, it wasn’t the 2,000 degree blowtorch or the 1,000 degree flask that gave me the power. It was the quenching of the molten metal--not the fiery passion, but the cooling plunge into the depths that ultimately answered what felt like a call in the depths of my own soul.
More Than Pro Life Causes
At that moment I realized that I could do more than have a Pro Life Mission. I could donate half of the money from these rings when I sell them. I realized it in a flash, as if it was the first time anybody ever thought of it, that I could donate money to buy ultrasound machines to help people to meet their babies at pregnancy centers around the country--at least in my community. They could meet these little people them before they’re even born. And then maybe that could save their lives. This is what the Knights of Columbus--which I am a part of--does with some of their money. They have bought 1000 machines, and saved countless thousands of lives. I can just sell these rings that are bubbling in this aluminum kettle full of water--I thought--and I could go and buy ultrasound machines. So at that moment I realized I could do even more than tell stories with this jewelry--I had the power to write stories with this jewelry.
So I decided as the Chief Creative Officer that we will literally donate half the profits to buy ultrasound machines. So, that's what these little ones are. They are and they aren’t about the pro life movement. These are little rings that can save little lives if you let them. And that’s enough for me.
Ad Jesum per Mariam,
Jay. Ross, MFA
Chief Creative Officer
31Four, Sacred Jewelry