The month of February was, for the first time in my life, flying by. We had started to look at rings and kick around possible wedding dates in May and June. I met, for the first time, another one of Dave's sisters--Cyndi. She was enchanting in every way, and I was delighted to find another kindred spirit in this family. I almost couldn't believe how blessed I was at the thought of joining a family like this one.
I grew up in an absolutely fabulous home, with parents who did many things right. They had provided me with opportunities to learn, work, and serve. They had been unfailingly loving and supportive. To have been born to such a family is a rare and precious thing. To be able to marry into a family that is equally loving and accepting was nearly beyond my comprehension.
One night in the second week of March, I walked down the hill from school. I was wearing a long sleeved pink shirt and white overalls, and was in a great mood. I had been at my oil painting class, and Dave was spending the evening at a religion class. I didn't expect to see him, but hoped that he would call. I had just walked into my room when the phone rang--too early for it to be Dave. To my surprise, it was. He asked if I wanted to go hang out with Mike and Sarah that night. He was going to bring his guitar, so he and Mike could play. It wasn't like him to skip class, but--sure--I was always up for a date and some time with Dave's family.
He came by a few minutes later, and seemed a little edgy. I tried to bring up the issue of possible dates again, but he didn't really want to talk about it. I tried to figure out what his deal was, but couldn't put my finger on it. When we got to his parent's home, where Mike and Sarah were living while his parents were out of the country, he pulled his black guitar case out of the trunk and we went inside.
Sarah was there, watching the news of Elizabeth Smart being found. We talked about that for awhile, and then Dave asked me if I wanted to go out on to the balcony with him. It was a cool night, with a brilliant moon. Everything was peaceful and still, and--as soon as we were outside, all the edginess melted away. This was a place we had always loved. It was perfect for watching sunsets, or looking at the stars. Dave grabbed a couple of fleece blankets, and we sat down to enjoy the early spring night.
He told me he had a surprise for me, and opened a pocket on his guitar case. Surprised, I held out my hand, and he placed in it...
a Lindt dark chocolate bar.
I was thrilled. (Home from Switzerland mere months and still going through withdrawls.) I was so happy that he laughed and said "If I knew you were that easy to please... but that isn't your only suprise." Reaching into the pocket again, he pulled out two things: a picture frame and a small notebook. He told me that he had something he wanted to read to me--a journal entry from his time in Jerusalem, about a time when he had wondered if he would ever find the love of his life, and felt assured that he would find her, and she would be everything he had always wanted. The experience had been striking enough that he took a picture of the place he was sitting as he had written the journal entry.
He handed me the picture frame, which included that picture and, under it, the words "Everything I've always wanted."
I was so touched at how sweet Dave was, and--to be totally honest--kind of overwhelmed. I wondered if I really could be everything he'd always wanted. I wasn't even totally sure what that "everything" was. I was a little afraid.
As I considered those feelings for the first time, he pulled out his guitar and started strumming the familiar chords to "Forever and Ever, Amen." Only, as he started to sing, I realized that he had changed the lyrics to fit us. They were funny and delightful and romantic.
I wondered if this man was for real.
What a great date! What a fun night. Not bad, since I hadn't even been expecting to see him. I was tired and content. He laid his guitar down, and we talked a bit, then he knelt over to give me a kiss. As he kissed me, he slid something into my hand.
It was cool to the touch, smooth, and square. Looking down--I saw a rosewood ring box.
He leaned back on his heels, looked into my eyes, and said "Will you be my wife?"