It was December 19, 2006 and I was anxiously waiting for my boyfriend to come pick me up for a dinner date in his big, noisy, redneck truck that needed a coat of paint.
I can hear it now. That truck could be heard from blocks away. As we rode from place to place, I would sit in the middle, right next to Eric. We would play country music on the radio and sing along together. Eric loved that old truck. It could be said that it never had a chance once I came into the picture. The first time I ever rode in it, I broke the passenger side window while trying to roll it down. It was the first of many mishaps the truck survived despite me, but its end would come a few years later when the engine would blow. I would just so happen to be the one driving it too. It wasn’t my fault, really, but that’s another story!
Eric and I met in 2003. I vividly remember the first time I saw him. We were at a church and he had just walked through the back double doors wearing a red shirt. I can honestly say that no other man has ever caught my eye the way Eric did that morning.
We spent the year avoiding each other. My reasoning was that he interested me but was in a relationship. I pretty much avoided him like the plague which resulted in him believing that I was a snob. We laugh about that now. I like to say that he did not know I existed that year, but since he remembers a girl with short, purplish hair (what was I thinking!!), I know he did. Unbeknownst to me, he broke up with his girlfriend and was a single guy for quite awhile. It was not until the summer of 2004 that our paths merged and a friendship was formed.
Only a few months into our friendship, I moved to attend an out of state college. I found later that he had penned a letter to me during my first month away but did not have the courage to send it. He gave it to me years later. (Seriously, how sweet is that?)
Despite the distance that would often come between us (first because we lived in different states and later because Eric’s job required him to be out of town ninety percent of the time), our friendship grew into love. This may sound hokey but I think I always knew that there was something special about him – even though it took me awhile (and a few mistakes along the way) to better understand that.
Fast forward to the winter of 2006. We were both located in the same city and spending as much time together as possible. Both of us were prayerfully confident that marriage would be in our future. I was waiting. Waiting for that moment that I had dreamed about many times over the past several months when he would ask me to be his bride.
There was nothing significant about that December 19th. It had been another work day and was cold and gray outside. As we drove to one of our favorite spots (the park we went to on our first date and many time afterwards), the sky darkened. The park was illuminated by twinkling white Christmas lights that were strung together to form snowflakes that hung from lamp posts.
Holding hands, we walked underneath the gazebo draped in ice cycle lights. They sparkled and reflected from the dark water of a nearby pond. We stood together in the silence of the park and savored the moment. (I found out later that the park closed at dusk but Eric had called and asked that they keep it open for the evening.)
The quiet was broken when Eric began to softly sing one of my favorite songs from “The Phantom of the Opera.” He held both of my hands and looked into my eyes as he sang, “Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime…”
He finished singing, dropped to one knee, and asked me to marry him. Okay, he said a lot of sweet things (I’m sure), but I have no idea what. As soon as I understood what was happening, everything else was a blissful blur!
Eight years ago, today, I said yes to the man of my dreams.
I wanted nothing more than to walk through life beside him and that has not changed. We really were just a couple of kids. We had no idea what true love really is or how tough marriage can be. But, then again, we didn’t know the beauty of the marriage covenant either.
Much has changed since that fateful night. Neither of us are who we were then, but it is my joy to grow older beside him. We learn, face challenges, laugh, cry, work, be silly or serious, and do life together. Side by side, hand in hand, we are one (even when the going gets tough). Every day is a mutual choice to continually strive to love the other more than self.
Just as it did eight years ago, when he takes my hand, my heart sings, “Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime. Say the word and I will follow you. Share each day with me, each night, each morning. Love me, That’s all I ask of you.”