Fifteen Years Ago, Today

November 13, 1993

M and I went up the space needle today. Looking out at the lights of the city, I was thinking how behind every light was a person and in every person some inner struggle. All those millions of people trying to find their way and how many have an inkling where to go or where to turn? 

Right there, out of nowhere, he asks, Will you marry me? I was completely stunned. I asked him "What?" My mind was spinning. Is he joking? Is this right?

Of course I heard him the first time. So why the stalling?  I've had my answer ready for weeks, should he ever ask, but suddenly there it was. Faster prayer a girl never uttered. Not so much a prayer as bust open your soul and hold it out begging for a downpour of divine revelation to fill it. Hit me with a whole-soul answer, God.

The only answer that would come was yes. No lightning bolts. No warm fuzzies. Just yes. Yes, like will the sun come up tomorrow, are your eyes blue and will the IRS still be collecting come April 15th, yes. Just yes.  I turned to a group of 10 year old girls who had taken our picture right when he asked and told them what he'd said.( Still stalling.) They all started screaming, "Say YES!" And that was the only answer that would come, so I did. Yeah. Yes. They were pretty disappointed that we wouldn't kiss.

We went back to the suburban to pray about it.  He prayed, then I REALLY prayed. The only answer I could get was yes. But I wanted some sort of confirmation that I could hold onto in the years to come when temptations and doubt creep. I just felt so wretchedly calm and unflustered. No butterflies. No sweaty palms, pounding heart, nothing. 

Those were my words, exactly—Heavenly Father, give me something to hold onto!

I know how fickle I am. I needed to see something written in the stars, maybe. An axe head floating up out of the Jordan. Maybe the Puget Sound parting, I don't know. I didn't want to ever look back and say, "What have I done!?"

God, I just need something to hold onto.

Open your eyes.

There were our hands, intertwined.

What more do you want?

No lightning bolts. Nothing in the stars, but there he was, real, rock-solid and honest, his hands gripping mine.

What more could I ask for, really?

Fifteen years ago today.  And what have I done? We've been through sickness, health, parenthood (still wading our way through that one) unemployment, self-employment, moving, house building, the list grows. And still, for unimaginable reasons, he's here, willing to hold onto me no matter which way I've got my world turned or upside down.

What more could I ask for? Really.

He'll never come home with roses (okay, there was that one) but he'll always come home. I know, you think, You can't KNOW that. But I do. You can't ask for a lot more in this world than to be able to trust someone completely.

Reading through my journals, every time I read through my journals I think, why? Why do I get so angry and frustrated and discontent over . . . what, really? This is what I chose, and it is right. This is where I belong.

Someone once asked me, if you could go back, would you do it again?


If I could change one thing, I would have said it that way. Instantly. The moment you asked. I would have trusted that instinct and not gone on in search of some answer brighter, brilliant, larger. I would have said yes, absolutely yes, I'm so glad you asked. And then somehow I would have made you know it, right from the start. I'm beginning to see that you have never been able to rest as easy in this place as I have—and I am sorry. It makes your whole-body and soul faithfulness to me even more humbling.

I would change this, if I could: I would have been, would now be, the kind of person you could trust as much as I trust you. I would have done the impossible—I'd have made you feel what I know. That I love you.

There are days I can't understand a word you say, and I know I'm speaking something you don't even recognize as language. But this is what I mean. I love you. We are not perfect and we are not always happy, but we are. And we always will be.

So ask me again, M. Ask me again, would I marry you then, today and tomorrow.


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