Cheryl and I wrote our engagement story after it took place three years ago today. Still rejoicing today over such a great day. We were married May 23rd. The story was originally entitled, “On the Road to Liberty,” because we were somewhere near Liberty, MS.
When John and I started dating, he asked me about things I would like to do together as a couple. Well I had this idea of a map day for a while, but hadn’t been able to do it yet. The premise of the mapday is that a group of friends, family, or whoever pulls out a map of the state they are living in and point to a random place. (Random meaning they close their eyes, swirl their finger all around, and plunk it down after a few seconds.) Then once the random place is selected, you go there and do whatever it is people do there. You eat where the locals eat, visit the interesting historical places, or see the not so interesting tourist attractions, etc. Last May we had a mapday and it was really fun! So we had another one planned for Friday, February 13th.
So I have always thought, and told some of you, that this would be a nice way to “be asked”: My best friend and I would be driving down the road and he would turn and look at me and say, “Hey, will you marry me?” I know this probably sound uncreative, uneventful, and simple. And, well it is simple. It’s simple and secure and everyday comfortable. This is how I want it to be with the person that walks with me for the rest of my life so why not start out that way?
So I modified this a bit. I compiled a CD of various songs that have meant something to us in our time together. These songs ranged from Harry Connick, Jr. to Elton John, (“Can you Feel the Love tonight?”) to U2, “Still haven’t found what I am looking for.” Therefore they ranged from the appropriately romantic, to the ridiculously funny. The last song on the album was a song I had written for Cheryl towards the end of last summer. I had only had the opportunity to play the song for her twice, so I enlisted one of my youth from church to put it on a CD for me and it served as the final song on the compilation CD. We pulled over at a rest stop, and having “rested,” I presented her with the CD as an early Valentine’s present. I knew from that moment that I had 45 minutes and 22 seconds before I would be asking one of the most important questions of my life. It was raining; we went through the ups and downs, smiles, laughs and gushiness of the songs. Then, the song started, and I pulled over. The rain was pattering on the windshield. . . the song was over and I asked. . . .
Last Valentine’s Day, I gave John a children’s book entitled, “I Like You”. A month or so back I started looking for a book similar to this one. I happened upon another book by this author entitled “Hooray For Us” but found that it has been out of print for quite some time. But thankfully there is such a thing as Amazon and I ordered a used copy. After reading the book, I had a plan for how I was going to present it…
For about a week and a half, I knew in my heart of hearts that John was going to ask me to marry him. We had never really talked about engagement or long-term plans so there were no hints coming from him (other than strange behavior occasionally). I truly believe the Lord told me. Because I felt like I needed to share this with someone, I had a sit-down talk with my good friend/mentor. So the morning of mapday, I wrote my answer in the front cover of the book. Though I was sure I was supposed to write those words, I wrote them with slight hesitation, thinking that if I happened to be wrong, it would be a funny joke one day.
As I was fumbling around with the bag in the back (since we were in her car), trying to get out the ring and open the box. Cheryl stopped me. Instead, she opened the book that she mentioned above, and I read, “ 2 – 13 – 09 , John is going to ask me to marry him today, and I am going to say. . . yes!”
So she never actually answered out loud, but I supposed this was more than good enough.
And all this happened on the road to Liberty.