Love in the Dump

Brian McGuinn threw his wife’s $10,000 engagement ring in the trash. His wife, Anna – five months pregnant – didn’t mind and went on with her life calmly.

The first part of what I just wrote is true. The second part, not so much.

It was November 9, 2011 when Anna McGuinn gave Brian her engagement ring to put in her jewelry box. Except the ring never made it to the box. He threw it in the trash by mistake along with a disposable razor.

Guess what the next morning was in Broward County Florida? Christmas? Arbor Day? Nope. It was trash pick-up day.

By the time the McGuinns realized what had happened, the trash had been collected. The ring was somewhere among tons of garbage.

The ABC News Report recounts:


“I was saying to myself, ‘OK, no one died, get a grip,’” Anna McGuinn said. “Then I started crying again.”

Desperate, she called Wheelabrator North Broward, which processes their garbage, and was surprised to hear that they had a protocol for the situation and would allow a search operation.

“Obviously my husband volunteered.”


You think?

You might want to turn away for the next part.

The refuse company indicated an area of the dump where the McGuinns’ neighborhood trash was dumped. Dressed a little like an alien, Brian said he pawed through piles of “feces and carcasses.”

But, after about an hour, he noticed something familiar – the pink yogurt cup Anna had had that night. Then he saw the razor and then… the ring, struggling to shine through the muck and the gunk.

He was happy and smelly. And Anna was overjoyed, although she vowed never to take off her ring again.

Of course this has Luke chapter 15 written all over it. You know the stories Jesus told about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son – the prodigal.

I sometimes think the math confuses us. It was 1 sheep out of 100. You still have 99. It was 1 coin out of 10. You still have 9. It was a son who made his own bed with greed and selfishness. Let him get his just desserts.  Serves him right.

It was 1 engagement ring. Just metal and minerals. “OK. No one died. Get a grip.”

What’s the point?

God doesn’t play odds. 1 in a thousand, 1 in ten thousand, 1 in a million. Doesn’t matter, if you’re the one. He did more than wade through stink to find you. Even though there were already millions already on their way to Heaven, the lesson of Luke 15 is that one matters. You.

“But,” you might say, “the ring was not only valuable and precious, it symbolized something deeper, a covenant of love. It was well worth a trip to the trash.”