Golden ring, with one tiny little stone
Shining ring, now at last it's found a home
By itself, it's just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring
The lyrics are from an old Tammy Wynette and George Jones duet that I grew up hearing. It's a beautiful song, full of poignance and love and heartbreak. Like all great poetry, it holds a bit of truth concerning the human condition - it is the emotion we attach to the symbols around us that give our world meaning.
My collar is simply a leather strap with a metal buckle and a couple of rings set into it. In and of itself, it is nothing more. It is just a thing, and there are innumerable other collars that are similar to it in every way. But there is one way in which it is different...
It is a collar that She had custom made to fit my neck. I knelt before Her and asked that it be fastened onto me as a symbol of my belonging to Her. When She buckled it on, it became a living symbol
I don't wear it on a daily basis - when we are apart, there is little reason for it, and a number of social customs would make wearing it openly taboo. But one of the first things that happens when we are together is that I kneel and offer it to Her, and She takes it and fastens it to my neck. There are times when we are apart that I wear it (like now), but they are private times and simply putting it on makes the seconds that tick by a bit more precious.
I have read diatribes from any number of people who claim that a collar is really meaningless, since it can be removed at any moment. This is the same line of reasoning that says that a submissive taking the title of "servant" or "slave" is meaningless because ownership of humans is legally prohibitive. But how many of these people would argue that a family name is meaningless, or a wedding ring, or a momento from their childhood or first love?
We do not live in a denotative world. Our world is inhabited by the connotative meaning of our passing through it. The objects in our lives are not set apart simply by their utility - try cleaning out a storage area and feel your heart thud and stand ajar when you uncover a photo or letter or knick-knack that <i>means</i> something.
It is not merely the objects around us that hold significance, but the way we handle them. In The Screwtape Letters, the demon Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood that one way to undermine the faith of a human is to convince them that one need not kneel in supplication when they pray. After all, the words of the prayer mean that same no matter what position the body assumes. By removing the additional meaning of assuming a supplicant's position, C.S. Lewis writes that the prayer becomes "a superficial resemblance" of an actual spiritual practice and humans forget that "whatever their bodies do affects their souls."
So, whenever I am in Her company, I kneel before Her to accept the collar - renewing our commitment to each other by our actions. When I am not in Her company, I still get on my knees, and in my mind I picture Her fingers on the buckle. Every time it settles against my skin, it is a new promise of my surrender. It is a statement of my trust and of my love. When I kneel, I feel more submissive, and that makes me, in fact, more submissive and ready for Her control.
Only love can make a golden wedding ring. Only supplication yields true submission. Only surrender, born of love, can make a leather strap a collar.
Like the one I wear.