Okay, so I must give credit where credit is due. My boss had the best line ever when I told him of my engagement in 2020. He said, “I just got the best news of this year to forget!!!”
Yep, 2020 was historical on a macro level and as much as we’d like to forget it and put it behind us, it’s one for the history books and the effects still linger on in 2021. Additionally, for me personally, it’s historical on a much more micro level – I got engaged!!!
We are so excited and I’m thrilled to write a blog post about some good stuff that came out of 2020.
Engagement During the Year to Forget!
What makes our story even sweeter is that we met, became friends, entered courtship, and eventually engagement all during the pandemic. Let me be clear about the irony in that for my story. I’ve been sober just short of 11 years. During the first few years of sobriety, I didn’t date per the solid advice given to me by more veteran comrades in recovery.
As I typically find with anyone in recovery, our addictions are just a symptom or a band-aid if you will. They cover up the pain of deeper wounds and/or are a very fake substitute for blessed assurance.
So when I got sober, I set out on the hard road of getting to the root of my stuff in an effort to heal. It’s been the most worthwhile journey I’ve taken to date. Everything in my life today is a result of this one choice to surrender and return to faith.
We Must Learn from the Past or Repeat it
Let’s face it, relationships are hard, and when one person brings a ton of unreconciled baggage into it, history will just repeat itself. Then the relationship will be really hard. So I worked on my recovery until I was healthier several years in.
However, my timing does not necessarily equal God’s timing. As much as I wanted to marry and have children, it just wasn’t happening. Sure, my standards skyrocketed waaaaaay up but still, I’m an extrovert and am very social. I met tons of guys who met my criteria so it was baffling that nothing was materializing on that front.
I learned to live with myself and serve those who come after me. Additionally, I even found peace in my faith as a single person if that was to be the way my story ended.
However, that small still voice told me it wasn’t the way my story would end. Little did I know that the timing would just happen to be during the most difficult year to meet new people.
Meeting During a Pandemic Shut Down
Spring of 2020 was scary, new, unprecedented, frustrating, and challenging. However, it still was the season that brings about new life. And when mutual friends connected tom & me, our relationship began to take life.
We started out talking on the phone often times while I was walking outside. I don’t know about you but I think I walked more miles in 2020 than any other year. I mean my favorite line was, “We still got outside!”
Tom & I first met in person on a local restaurant patio for dinner and then guess what? We took a walk, haha! And that walk turned into another walk the next week, some hikes, bike rides, campfires, and on and on.
We became friends through the summer months enjoying the great outdoors together. I have a ton of friends and was meeting some of my close ones outside for walks too but there was something special about my walks with Tom. We talked of a great many things and got to know one another. We laughed and slowly, ever so slowly my walls came down.
First Comes Friendship, Then Courtship
We did things the old fashioned way. We hung out as friends and as we started to develop stronger feelings for one another, I did what any sane girl would do, I gave him a series of essay questions to answer. Wait, what? That’s not what most sane girls do?!?
Well, it should be because how the heck are we going to determine if the big things line up? There is just something about the written word that causes a person to ponder, dig deep, and answer truthfully. You cannot hide behind the pen (or laptop).
As we prayerfully proceeded, Tom was ever the gentleman and asked my folks if he could have their permission to court me! Chivalry is not dead! And I found that completely endearing. So as our courtship took shape in late summer, we spent more time with each other’s families and started pastoral counseling.
In the fall we realized marriage was in our future.
Then Comes Engagement
I introduced Tom to a family friend in the fall who is a jeweler but other than that I wasn’t sure when, or how, or even the ring. Surprises are still the best!
My busy season at work is the fourth quarter of the year and it was trying for our budding relationship. I had to cancel many dates and we learned to delay our desire to hang out.
Unfortunately, Fortunately, it was even the source of some arguments. Every thriving relationship must learn how to manage conflict and thanks to my busy season we got some practice at it!!
Well as a wise man with a plan, Tom knew he would need to solidify a date with me during my busy December with some type of reservation or ticket. He got us tickets to Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet in Akron, Ohio. Stan Hywet is an estate that was formerly owned by F.A. Seiberling, the founder of Goodyear tire. After his death, it became a non-profit historical museum.
I’d never been there so I was eager to go with Tom to see all the Christmas lights!
We waited in line with hundreds of other masked folks and got to tour the main mansion all while maintaining social distance. The grounds were spectacularly lit up and it was romantic in spite of all the people. Unbeknownst to me, Tom was patiently awaiting the right spot at the right time with privacy to ask me for my hand.
As we walked around the grounds, me in my cowgirl boots, I was getting colder and colder. I asked if we could leave but Tom encouraged me to see a few more sites, and I acquiesced. We went through gingerbread land with Mariah Carey singing, all I want for Christmas is You. I exclaimed, Tom, all I want is you!! Tom continued to practice patience. 😉
After that segment, I again asked to leave but he gently encouraged me to take a look at the purple lights under an arbor over yonder. Then he wanted me to hear a song he found and so he proceeded to play Michael Buble’s version of All I want for Christmas is you. BTW, it’s a more romantic version in my humble opinion. ♥♥♥
So we danced under the moonlight in an arbor strung with purple lights.
I still didn’t have a clue but I was somehow no longer cold as we danced. Then Tom got down on one knee and asked me the question that felt like home, “will you marry me?” After I got control of my emotions and delight, I said yes!!!
We couldn’t be more excited to come together as husband and wife in 2021. Thanks for reading and your support!
Life is full of twists and turns, and sometimes those turns are hard. I mean really hard. However, I encourage you to know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Our lives may not turn out the way we hope or even plan, but take heart because the journey is a worthwhile one.
God’s timing is perfect.