Thursday, July 12, 2007

On Being Engaged...

Many of you single people out there see getting engaged as something that really will happen in your life, and can't wait for it to. But let me say this; as the day approaches, the older you are, the more... different being engaged is.

All of my life I was "that guy" who was everyone's third-, fifth- (any odd number-) wheel. I didn't mind, and neither did my friends. They just thought of me as the single guy who's still looking for that soul mate, especially as ALL of my best friends from Elementary School through Graduate school have gotten married (well not all of them from grad school because... well, seminary is a lonely place) and yet here I am still single at 27 years old. I really had become used to this lifestyle, even though I hadn't accepted the idea that I may never get married. And then it happened (read blog post below).

Actually, this all started when I was 25 and still in seminary, and I met Jeannine through our blogs. Maybe the blog world is the next online dating service? Anyway, things have led to this, and through all that I've been through in the past couple years, Jeannine has been there for me and encouraged me, and we've really grown together. I am truly in love and happy to be engaged, and although I can see all the ways that I disappointed myself with my imperfections on the day I proposed to her, I know that one way that I've really "appointed" myself (hmm... what's the opposite of "disappoint?")... I guess what I'm trying to say is that though I disappointed myself with the nervously-stuttered proposal, the end result is the greatest accomplishment that I could ever hope to achieve - finding the person with whom I will spend the rest of my life. And even that, I didn't do, but I have to thank God for doing because in the great big world of the internet, there's such a small chance that our blogs would cross paths without Divine intervention.

So if you're single and believe God has someone out there that He will lead you to one day, don't give up hope. Try starting a blog! On the other hand, enjoy being single, because although married people don't have to deal with the loneliness single people deal with, they also don't network NEARLY as well as singles do. At least that's the biggest complaint that I've heard from married people - single people spend a lot of time with a lot of different people, while married people spend all their time with themselves & their kids.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm Engaged! (my story)

One of the biggest shocks about getting engaged is that you think as a single person that when you get engaged, everything changes. Maybe because I haven't been engaged all that long, I haven't had the opportunity to experience this phenomenon, but I honestly don't feel any different than I did before I was engaged, and I don't really think anything is going to change. A lot of people have told me to expect things to change, but I just dont see it yet.

So on to the story...
I had this whole date planned where we would go do all this fun stuff and end up on a dock that we like to visit sometimes, where things are very peaceful and since it's a private lake, there aren't people there to bother us. On the dock I would have a table set up for our to-go dinner of Olive Garden food (our first date) and roses/petals everywhere and lots of tea candles all over the place. There I would play "question" by Rhett Miller on my guitar after a "speech" and then propose to her. It would be amazing. However, things just don't ever work out for me the way I'd like for them to. After a 6 month severe draught in our state, it rained for a solid week up to the day I proposed and of course, on the day of the proposal. So the lake was out of the question.
My plan B was that I would ask her at my sister's place in Atlanta - so I left 4 dozen roses and 200 candles with her and she decorated and set up some awesome music and atmosphere for us. We arrived with the Olive Garden food and I thought the candles were burning the roses so I tried to move them and dumped over a huge vase of roses. However at this point we were already engaged.

An unexpected plan C had occurred. I had the day planned out leading up to the moment at dinner when I would propose, but some good advice from a friend told me that I would be too nervous to eat if I waited till dinner, and besides, we should get engaged somewhere that we can later go back and visit. So I picked her up for Chick-Fil-A breakfast, then drove to Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga and bought tickets for Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls. We got to the top of the mountain and there were people everywhere. It was lunchtime and we were having a picnic but I couldn't eat because all I could think about was the upcoming moment and how I wanted to get it right. Every time I looked at the spot where I wanted to propose (a lookout point called "Lover's Leap"), there were SO MANY people crowded around. When they would leave I would look to Jeannine but she was taking so long to eat that eventually people kept crowding back up. Finally she finished and we walked to the edge and I gave her a few gifts to go along with what I was saying (which I didn't get out at all) and then I proposed on one knee.

A man nearby was kind enough to take our picture and offer to email it to us - we had no idea and were really glad to have that moment on camera! But I never got to say what I wanted to. I had planned to explain to her that I have a desire to be the kind of husband that Christ is for his church, to protect her to the point of offering my own life if I need to (I gave her a cell phone car charger so she wouldn't be stranded with a dead battery), to pray for her always (I gave her a prayer journal I'd been working on while she was gone), and to be committed to her only for the rest of my life (proposal & ring). But I wanted so badly for it to be a surprise that I got nervous and didn't say all of it exactly right, worrying that she wouldn't be surprised when I popped the ring out (BAM!) and so I missed the depth of what I had planned to say. I never even got to tell her how I had planned to say it, but she didn't mind and accepted my lame proposal.

Now the funny and irritating thing is that girls always have to act like they weren't surprised, and even though Jeannine admits that it was a shock, most of her friends try to act like they absolutely knew it was coming and aren't surprised. What is the deal with girls? Why can't they act surprised? I have been hearing over and over "I knew what Jeannine was going to tell me when she called" and "I totally saw this coming" as a first reaction from her friends.

Anyway so that's my story, and Jeannine will probably eventually tell it from her angle. Already I'm surprised though, because everywhere we call is booked and has been for some time (reception venues) and we're engaged to married in a YEAR. Wouldn't you think that's enough time? Here's a picture of the ring I gave her on her finger (1.5ct diamond & white gold) - I got it at Shaneco and I recommend them to all.