The day was June 12, 1990; the place: San Bernardino, Calif. We were anticipating the wedding of a friend a few days later, and then a 7-week separation as David traveled to the former Soviet Union to record several languages of the JESUS film. We had talked about marriage, shopped for rings in an out-of-town mall so no one would see us, and decided to wait until fall and the end of a busy travel schedule. Or so I thought.
But in order to spend a little time together before our separation, we decided to go up to the Arrowhead Springs Hotel, then the headquarters of Campus Crusade for Christ, and enjoy the view and each other. David had arranged to borrow a red-and-white-checked tablecloth from friends, packed a picnic basket with crystal goblets and Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and a book of poetry. As we sat on the back lawn overlooking the city, David, with a bachelor party to attend in a short time, suggested we pray together. We closed our eyes, clasped hands, and prayed for safety in his travels to an unstable part of the world, and for our hearts as we were separated from each other. In the middle of the prayer, David stopped and said, “Hold on a minute, God.” I thought he was getting choked up from the emotion of the moment.
Far from it, apparently. With my eyes still closed, giving him a minute to compose himself, I felt his hand on my chin, lifting my head and encouraging me to open my eyes. He looked into them and said something like, “Will you marry me?”
The rest is just a blur. I think I said “yes” first, and them something about, “I thought we were going to wait,” and then he pulled out the ring and placed it on my finger. Yea!
Now, 23 years later, as I think about what that day meant, I realize that his simple “Will you?” was much more complex than I first thought. By saying yes, I was agreeing that I would be his biggest fan. I would know him better than anybody and allow myself to be known. I would love him best, judge him least. I was agreeing to live 1 Corinthians 13, not keeping a record of wrong, never giving up. Has it always been easy? No. Has it always been worth it? Unequivocally, yes.
It’s been 23 years, three kids, three miscarriages, two cats, two dogs, numerous fish and crabs, one bird, two apartments, one cross-country move, two houses, one set of parents dying, one set of parents divorcing, his mom moving in, lots of laughter, lots of tears, and always, without fail, a boatload of love and grace and forgiveness.
Happy engagement anniversary, Hunny. I still will.
Thankful today for:
902. summer break
903. a successful first year of teaching 6th grade
904. the chance to work on Mackinac Island for a few days
905. air travel–even if I don’t like it very much
906. gift cards
907. bike rides
908. family visits