In honor of our 3rd Wedding Anniversary (!!!)
last week a long time ago, Nels and I are reminiscing and writing “Our Story” — Hope you enjoy. This is Part 7. Read the rest here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.
(Jordan) He was just back from Ft. Jackson, fit and strong from 5 a.m. PT and finally in the same time zone as I was! We had talked on the phone and written letters for what felt like a never-ending summer. Finally we were together again.
One night soon after he returned, we went out for a “dress-up date” since we hadn’t been out in ages! We went out to Olive Garden and were just starting to enjoy ourselves and our wonderful, this-can’t-be-real/are-we-really-here-and-together?! dinner when we were interrupted by a phone call. It was Nels’ roommate, Andrew.
Nels felt bad, but he had forgotten that he promised Andrew they would hang out that night! It was the only night they would see each other. I was disappointed because I had been anticipating such a fun evening and it got cut short really abruptly. However, I tried to maintain a happy disposition, because I loved Nels and Andrew and their sweet friendship, so I went home for a while, and Nels invited me to catch up with them later after they had a bit of “man time”…
(Nels) I was very excited about getting set for our engagement. It was difficult being away from Jordan during my chaplain training at Fort Jackson. However, I had used the time to pick out the best ring I could think of (and afford). To me, a ring was a special purchase. It had to be something that was going to cost me a lot— I wanted it to be for a lifetime, I wanted it to be pure, clear, fiery, and brilliant. I couldn’t seem to find the ring I was looking for anywhere. Either the diamond was not right, or the setting was not right… What was I going to do? So it hit me—I’ve got to buy the diamond separate from the band, have them both sent home and find a jeweler to put them together. And that is exactly what I did! I was so pleased with my engagement ring for Jordan. It was beautiful, symmetrical, elegant, timeless, and heartfelt. To me it said, “I love you, I want you to have the best I can offer you, the very best.”
Getting set up for our engagement was fun. My roommate Andrew Burns had helped me get everything set up at Parkville alongside the winding Missouri. There was a mist in the air, something like the beginning of a gentle rain, and I needed to have candles lit for the proposal! Somehow we got them lit, and they mostly stayed aflame as we waited. I had written Jordan poetry, brought my guitar to sing her songs, set up a candle walkway and a sheet to sit on (beneath a mulberry tree, as we later found out with purple-stained clothing!). Alida, my eldest sister, told me to bring my camera to capture the event on film so I did.
After a delicious dinner, dropping Jordan off at home, setting up hastily with Andrew Burns, and giving him my keys so that Jordan and I could ride home together (I was hopeful here…) Jordan finally arrived at Parkville. I greeted her happily and led her over to the candlelit proposal spot.
After reading, singing, talking, and enjoying the beautiful setting sun, I pulled out the ring case and opened it up. As it popped open the ring went flying out! How ridiculous! I regained composure, and showing Jordan the ring asked her to marry me. All that I can remember is that she said yes!
It was a beautiful yes—the beginning of a lifetime of memories. The starting point to a beautiful plan that God had ordained far before I had been born. I was a happy man, and Jordan was happy too. How that made my heart sing. As we headed home arm in arm with the sun having just set I remember seeing the misty rain dance across sleepy floodlights of the walkway; soft, busy, droplets, glowing as they fell from heaven. I felt like I was in a dream… like someone living in a movie, and the world was a happy place. It was truly a happy place.
Here are a few pictures from that sweet night that he proposed – July 29, 2008. Thanks, Alida for the good idea of bringing the camera! 🙂