"I will never, ever get married again. EVER!" ~ Me
Those were the words I was uttering about two years ago. I wasn't just saying them in anger or frustration due to the fact that I had finally extricated myself from a very lousy nine year marriage. I meant them with every fiber of my being. I wasn't against falling in love again at some point in the future, but I was making a lot of effort to put my life back together so I could become the person that I wanted to be. My plans did not include joining myself with another person for the rest of my life again, especially when I could have a great life without a partner or husband; which by the way, I still believe can be done!
As is true for most things in this life, we never account for the unexpected as we go along on our journey. My unexpected was Chuck. This incredible, loving, gentle soul who literally just popped up in my life at a time I never expected and in a place that I certainly never expected to find the one true love of my life. And I don't use that phrase lightly. He is my one true love. The one I feel that God has meant for me to always be with. And I know without a doubt that I am his. It just took us longer than most to find each other.
I have known since the day that Chuck and I did something together just the two of us, walking Molly at the state school, that I did not want to spend a single day without him in my life. But what most people are not aware of is that our journey to this proposal has been a challenging one at times. Like every other couple, we face obstacles and one of those obstacles was one that we had to struggle through together before we decided on the commitment of marriage. We have both done this marriage thing before and I am a firm believer that all those tough questions have to be dealt with before two people get to the altar. It's a good feeling to now be able to sit back and look forward to this marriage without any reservation or doubt. It's an even better feeling to know that there is nothing we cannot get through.
So how did it happen? On Christmas Eve, at home, we continued our tradition (a very new tradition!) of exchanging one Christmas present. He opened the photography book I got him and then he handed me a small box. A jewelry box. But I still did not think it was an engagement ring. I figured it was a charm for my Pandora bracelet, a pair of earrings, or a regular ring. There was a variety of reasons for my naivety, including the fact that my mind was elsewhere and did not register the possibility that he was going to propose. We were in the midst of celebrating Christmas and we had a duet we were singing for church service that night. I was very distracted to say the least.
So I opened that small white box and there it was. This beautiful diamond ring, one of the most stunning things I have ever seen. As I was looking at it, Chuck got down on one knee and put the ring on my finger. A perfect fit. He never said a word. He didn't have to. Neither did I. Sometimes you don't need words....
As we told our family and friends the wonderful news, it still took me some time to absorb what had happened. I was in a state of shock and I think that some people interpreted that as meaning I was caught off guard because we had not discussed marriage. That wasn't it at all. We had discussed it. The shock was more about the fact that I wasn't expecting the ring at that moment, on that day; one of the most joyous days of the year.
Some of the shock this past weekend for me also had to do with coming to terms with how drastically my life has changed over the past few years. I sit back and think to myself: how did I get here? At what point did my life turn around so much that I am now capable of fully loving someone, fully receiving their love in return, and creating a life for myself that is fulfilling? How did I become so blessed?
It has been an emotional few days since the proposal. Seeing my brother cry, hearing the excitement in Chuck's mother's voice, and experiencing the pure joy of so many people who love us. For those people who have been by my side over the past five years during one crisis after another, the joy of this engagement has been an opportunity for them to celebrate a love that has been life altering for me, for both of us. I would say that this engagement is the beginning of a wonderful life together but truth be told, it is really a continuation of the wonderful life we already have...
Photos: Courtesy of Chuck Myers