Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's Next?

GOD truly works in mysterious ways, and as cliche´ as that sounds, it's true. This story is absolutely proof of that. For over three years of my life, I waited on a promise that seemed impossible. I dreamt of a reality that only happens in fairy tales or on movie screens. Yet, I lived and breathed every moment of this epic saga. And even though I was a central character in this romance, even I couldn't have predicted what was coming next.

Almost a month had passed since my birthday. Things were generally the same as they'd always been with Earl. However, I could tell something was different after I gave him the ring back. There was something more deliberate about him when we spent time together. I really couldn't understand what was going on, but I knew it had to be good. It was as if he was on the verge of moving forward, but with Earl it had been that ways so many times before I just couldn't be sure. Over and over, I'd gotten my hopes up that he was ready to commit to being a couple, only to have things come to a screeching halt, so this time I just waited...waited to see what turn we would take next.

It was Friday, October 3rd, 2003 and I had worked all night. I was looking into buying a condo instead of renting, so at this time I was still staying at his mom and dad's. I remember awakening to Earl laying on top of the covers beside me and just staring. It startled me really. He whispered, "Good morning to you," despite the fact that is was nearly 3 in the afternoon.


"Hey. What are you doing here?" I groggily answered.


"I wanted to wait on you to wake up. Get up and get ready, we're going somewhere, but don't eat anything," he informed me.


"OK," I told him as I sat up in the bed, "where are we going?"


"I just have some things to do, but we going to get something to eat while we're out," he advised as he left the room so I could began the process of crawling out of bed.


I could hear commotion coming from the kitchen, as I stumbled into the bathroom to shower and primp for the next hour. When I emerged, Earl was sitting at the table eating chili that Jerrie and another friend of ours had made for everyone to eat that night. I looked at him and said, "I thought you said not to eat?"

"Well, I was really hungry. I couldn't wait anymore. Sorry!" he explained.

If you don't know Earl, well, his stomach always comes first, no matter what is going on. So I sat and drank some coffee as he finished his chili. Everyone was planning to hang out at the house that night and they urged us to stay and enjoy a game of cards with them, but he was insistent that we had somewhere to go. They looked to me for an answer, but I could only shrug. With Earl being so aloof about the night, I didn't have the slightest clue as to what events the evening would entail.

Once we left, he began to complain about all the homework he had to do that weekend, so I suggested we just go to his house so he could work on it. He just looked at me and said, "You wanna go to Walmart? Let's go to Walmart. I'm sure there's something I need there."

I of course obliged. It didn't matter to me what we did, as long as I got to spend time with him.

We arrived, wondered around and ran into several people Earl knew (because no matter where you go, he always knows somebody) and then promptly left. I'm not sure we actually even bought anything other than a drink, but nonetheless, we got back in his truck and headed toward the interstate.

Again he launched into grumbling about all of his homework and again I suggested we just go back so he could work on it.

"No. I don't want to do that right now. Let's go by my uncle Mike's. I think he has a spotlight and we can go to dad's property and spotlight deer."

Now, while I may have grown up in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, where deer hunting is a sport that you actually getting excused absences --> for in school, I am not and never will be that kind of country girl—sorry, but the whole cameo gear and big 4x4 trucks was never a draw for me (which the latter is especially one of the reasons that made Earl and I such an unlikely match from the get go). At that point, I'm thinking, this has got to be the strangest evening of my life. Did he just say we were going to spotlight deer? Deer? Seriously! I'd really rather watch him do his homework! The bewilderment on my face must have been apparent. However, off we went to his uncle Mike's.

I'm not sure how long we stayed, about an hour or more. And to Earl's dismay, Mike did not have a spotlight. A great relief to me or so I thought. After we left, he still insisted we go to 40 acres and use his headlights to catch the deer off guard.

It took about 10 minutes to get there from Mike's house. When we reached the property, Earl got out to unlock the gate. As I watched him search out the key and open it up, I remember thinking at that point, I really wished we'd just stayed and played cards.

We began climbing the gradual incline of the dark gravel driveway, slowly making our way toward a grassy spot that he planned to park while waiting for deer to dart by. Before long his truck came to a rest and he cut the engine off. There we were...sitting and waiting for deer. Oh the excitement, well, not really, but anyway.

After a moment he turned and said, "Let's get in the back of the truck bed."

Now, while it was the beginning of October, which for the most part is generally mild in East Tennessee, this night was anything but. It was around 40 degrees,  I'd only worn a light sweater and I am very cold natured, so I responded rather quickly, "No. You're crazy! It's freezing out there!"

"Oh, come on! We'll just sit and see if any deer come out."

"Umm..no. It's cold."

"Just get out of the truck," he demanded.

I rolled my eyes, "Fine, but I'm not staying out there long." I said as I gave in.

Since we were on a hill, I climbed out on his side to keep from dealing with shutting his heavy door. He helped me into the back of his truck bed and hopped up behind me. I was standing with my arms crossed shivering uncontrollably.

"Are you cold?" he asked in a concerned manner.

"What do you think? I told you it was freezing out here!" I retorted.

"Well, listen, I really just wanted us to get out here so that we could pray. I want us to pray about us one more time. I'll start and then you can finish," he said.

"OK," I told him, but in my mind I was thinking, I don't need to pray about this anymore, but whatever.

He took my hand, stood before me and began to pray. I remember hearing him tell GOD if we were really meant to be together to make it crystal clear to him. He closed his prayer and I began with mine. All I could do was agree in prayer with him because it had been so apparent to me for so very long. I don't really remember every thing else that was said, but when I opened my eyes, Earl was on one knee. In his hands, he held an open box with a beautiful, platinum 1 carat diamond ring. I gasped and covered my mouth as tears streamed down my cold, red chapped cheeks. Sniffling and choking back tears of his own he rattled out, "Will you be my wife?"

For a moment, all I could manage to do was shake my head yes. Finally my voice broke through and I proclaimed, "YES!! YES!! YES!!"

He stood up and put the ring on my finger before taking me in his arms and gently kissing me.  In that moment, the world stood still again, but this time for all the reasons I wanted it to. Finally all the waiting and trusting I had done allowed GOD's plan to come to fruition and in HIS time, not my own.

"C'mon. Let's get you back in the truck to warm up," he tenderly urged.

As we climbed into the truck, my heart was so full of joyful elation that I'm not sure there's a word in the English language that would do justice to what I was feeling. I kept looking down to see if the ring was still there, just to know it was true. This time every sparkle radiated an exuberant euphoria that I'd never known. My faith increased a trillion fold that night. I knew I could never truly doubt GOD or HIS LOVE and MERCY and PLAN for me again. HE knew what HE was doing from the moment I'd committed to trust HIM and all HE would ever ask of me, no matter how dire the situation seems, is just that, to trust HIM.

(***The dress will without a doubt be on the next post!!****)

1 comment:

  1. What a story!!!!! It will be a good book and Connie even has the cover of the book worked out.
    This will be a best seller, and Earl must put his thoughts together to give both sids of the story.
    your friend
    Jane

    ReplyDelete