Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chapter 16 Engagement

Contemplating engagement, I decided to ask God if I was supposed to marry Parke. This would be the biggest decision of my temporal and eternal life, I couldn’t be wrong. I kept the previous spiritual experience in my heart, but felt like I needed another confirmation. I had always been taught the process for receiving a spiritual confirmation: study it out, ponder, make a decision and ask God through fasting and prayer. My spiritual experience didn’t fit the classic mold and I was concerned that I needed to go through the proper steps.

I cleansed my life by removing any and all bad influences that would hinder revelation from flowing. I read my scriptures and prayed more diligently. I wrote lists and plans. It all felt good. I felt peace. But I was waiting for something more powerful. One day, while fasting, I drove up to the mountains. I knelt by a tree and prayed. Hours went by. I poured my heart out to the Lord. I repented, I expressed gratitude, I asked, I listened. I asked for clarity, a sign, anything….I waited.

I felt peace, but nothing more.

After hours of pleading and raw knees, I decided to go home. I was hugely disappointed. Where was the angel, the dream, the voice? I walked through the door, defeated and weak. My grandfather was visiting and he could tell something was wrong. He patted the couch next to him and listened while I shared my frustrations.

My grandfather is the patriarch of our family in all respects. He is an Army hero (awarded the bronze star), spiritual giant and one of my closest confidants. As a soldier in World War II, he was on the front lines in Germany. During an intense air raid, he was taking cover in a foxhole. It was quiet when he heard a voice distinctly say “Get out of the foxhole and run to the trees.” He knew he was alone, but still, he looked around. For a moment, he shrugged it off as a figment of his imagination. That’s when the voice came more forcefully. “Get out of the foxhole and run to the trees!” He knew he was being warned by the Spirit of God. He shimmied out of his hiding spot and ran to the trees, 500 yards away. Once in the safety of the arbor canopy, he heard enemy planes flying overhead. A bomb was dropped and landed directly in the foxhole blowing the earth to smithereens.

“Why couldn’t I have an experience like yours Grandpa?” I pouted.

“How did you feel when you were praying?” he probed.

“I felt peace. I felt good” I admitted.

He tenderly said “Sounds like you got your answer”.

At that moment, I knew. Yes. I did receive an answer on the couch a month ago. And since then, I’ve felt nothing but peace. God had spoken to me. To give me another answer would be redundant, and to ask would be insulting.

I felt so honored that God considered me worthy of this perfect boy. Although Parke had a higher dating score than me, God felt that we were equals (or maybe He knew I’d need a lot of help during my life’s journey).

Parke asked me to go BYU’s Homecoming dance. We had been busy that day making and delivering corsages and boutonnieres for my own side business. I took time to make a boutonniere for Parke and a corsage for me. We seemed way too old to be going to a date dance, but didn’t care. When we arrived in Salt Lake City, we had a leisurely, romantic dinner and then walked around downtown. We ended up in one of the upper conference rooms of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, an ornate, historic hotel. In this particular room, there were windows overlooking the entire city. In one corner there was a grand piano and Parke encouraged me to sit down and play. I played “Clair de Lune”. Once finished I turned around to see Parke lounging in a window well, smiling big. Oh, I love seeing those delicious teeth. They were my drug of choice. He was holding a small gold box. He walked up to the piano bench and slid the box across the bench to me.

“Open it” he encouraged.

I knew what was in that little gold box and I was so ready to open it. When I removed the top, there was a smaller velvet, maroon ring box inside. I lifted it out and took a deep breath. When I raised the top, a sparkle caught my eye. I gasped. The hugest diamond that I had ever seen (in real life) stared back at me. The ring boasted a 2-carat princess cut diamond with complimenting diamonds embedded in the band. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

This is for me????

Then Parke took the box from me and removed the ring from the box. He got down on one knee.

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was in High School. I saw myself proposing to my wife, I just couldn’t see your face. Then when you stood up in lab that first day I was in awe of you. As I got to know you, I realized that you were more than just a beautiful face, you are beautiful person. I know that you were the one I was missing. With you, I feel complete. We’re one.”

He continued, “I love you. Will you marry me?”

And as I looked at Parke I again thought, This is for me????

I joined him kneeling on the floor and looked deep in his eyes.

Just then, Parke’s and my history flashed before my eyes. I thought about all of the times I’d opened my email hoping for a message from him, reading his favorite books just to be close to him, licking my lips after our date just to taste the remnant of our kiss and smelling my shirt, desperate to get another whiff of him, laughing at his jokes and pondering his philosophies. I thought of the mornings where I’d hear his boots land on my balcony and my heart would leap, and hearing his deep, sexy, voice on the other end of the phone. I remembered being states away from him and the pain and longing I felt to be in his arms again. And then when I was in his arms again, I was home. Yes, this was right. This was so, so right. We were one. I couldn’t go a day without seeing him, let alone an eternity….

“I love you too! Of course I’ll marry you.”

Then he brought me into a crushing embrace. Our eyes couldn’t contain the tears. There was no shame. We wept in each other’s arms. We had found each other, just as we had promised.

Laughing and wiping away the tears, he said “Now let’s put this ring on you!”

The ring easily slipped on my finger and we hugged again. While his arms were around me I could help but gawk at the ring from behind his back. I stretched my hand out and marveled at the sheer size and beauty of it.

“It’s perfect! How did you know?” I gushed.

“Well, remember when I asked you what kind of ring you’d like?” he reminded.

Sheepishly, I remembered. “I said ‘I don’t care, just make it BIG’”.

“Is it BIG enough?” he asked, and we both laughed.

“But how did you afford it?” I asked.

Parke explained “When I went on my mission I invested $5,000 in the stock market. When I came back my investment had quadrupled. I saved this money for your ring, for our honeymoon and for starting our life together.”

We went to the dance and had a great time. The ring felt wonderfully heavy on my finger. Every so often I’d glance down and be delightfully surprised when I’d find that platinum sparkler on my ring finger. It’s like wearing a training bra for the first time; you keep peeking down your shirt to see if the bra is still there and feel a thrill that you are finally a woman.

I was a woman; Parke’s woman! I knew that Parke was mine months ago, but to wear his ring was to say that I was taken. I was off the shelf, bought and paid for. My practice kissing days were over…I found the one to kiss forever.

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