What in the world was floating in my sparkling cider? Certainly not a piece of ice! I picked up the glass and peered into the amber liquid. And there, resting in the bottom of the delicate glass, the bubbles caressed a breathtaking ring. I gasped, almost choking on the tiramisu, and then, with no hesitation at all or thought of etiquette, in went my hand to the bottom of the glass.
I held a gold ring in my hand as the cider dripped off my fingertips. The band was wide and crowned with a cluster of diamonds set in a princess cut shape. The sides of the band were encrusted with diamonds, almost wrapping entirely around the band. It was gold! It was diamonds! It was really sparkly! It was being taken from my hand! NO! But then I realized that it was Paul who was taking my little beloved from me and he was lowering himself to one knee right next to me.
It was then that I understood why so many waiters had descended upon our table at once. They were in all the whole thing and taking pictures for Paul. The whole restaurant stopped and watched as Paul took my hand in his. He looked directly into my eyes and said, "Shawnacee, you have made me an incredibly happy man and I would love to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
That was the million dollar question! Would I marry this man? Could I marry this man? After all that I and my children had been through in the past year could I really accept this proposal? It was as though my life flashed before my eyes in those few seconds. All of the years spent in ministry, the birth of our children, the many years caring for Tim........was I truly ready to put the past behind me and start a new life. And then, the Lord brought to my remembrance the tears, the loneliness, the heartbreak, the sacrifice. And here, kneeling before me was the answer. This man offered a hand to hold as we strolled a mall, a shoulder to lean on when it all became too much, someone to share a double double cheeseburger and animal style fries with at In-n-Out, arms to wrap around me during the cold nights, and a ring, let's not forget the bling!. He offered a life suddenly worth living and above all else, he offered unconditional love, a love that I could so easily reciprocate.
As I gave myself permission to be genuinely happy, my eyes filled up with tears and I heard myself saying "YES!"
The restaurant erupted into cheers and we began to laugh as he slipped my little darling onto my left hand. I smiled so wide that my face hurt. The hostess came over and snapped photographs of us as we posed for the camera. This was it! I was the happiest girl in the world and could not wait to start planning my wedding! There was only one little problem that kept gnawing at the back of my mind........how was I going to tell HIM (Pastor Keyes) that I had gone and gotten engaged without his blessing? Oh Lordy, I really did have myself in a predicament. I pushed it out of my mind for the time being, not wanting anything to spoil the moment. I could not bear the thought of having to break another engagement to someone I loved above all else due to my own hastiness.
It turns out that news travels fast.......REAL fast. I, a former Pastor's wife should know that! But I was so lost in my own giddiness that I didn't think twice a week or so later when my phone rang and I picked it up. It was my Pastor's wife...........and she had heard the glad tidings.......