MARK AND I ARE ENGAGED!!!! Not that this is new to anyone reading this blog. It’s still very exciting though. : ) We got engaged on May 30th, 2014. We were planning on going to a piano recital that evening, but Mark called me and asked me if I wanted to go out to eat instead. I had been DYING to get engaged for a solid 4 months at this point (when you know you know, right?), and I was really hoping that the proposal was coming soon. I was very suspicious of anything and everything at this point, so I readily agreed to the eating-out plan. The first place we went to was packed, and we decided that we should go somewhere else. After some deliberation, we decided to go to Guru’s on center street in Provo. Mark had suggested we go down to Spanish Fork. I clearly was not suspicious enough, because had I really been on my game, I would have seen this as highly suspect. As it was, I just thought that was silly. Why on earth would we go to Spanish Fork? What’s even in Spanish Fork? To center street we went! We got our food to go and ate in the park by the city buildings in downtown Provo. It was warm and sunny and nice. Then Mark asked me if I wanted to go to a park. Enter suspicion. Of course I did! We headed down to Salem (near Spanish Fork. How did I not see that? Haha). There is a park down there with a lovely lake/large pond with a bridge going across it. We got there and there were a bunch of people there (much to Mark’s dismay). Apparently there had been a triathalon there earlier in the day. Also, there were these two girls who jumped off the bridge into the lake. People crowded around. The police were called. It was pretty exciting (everyone was ok, by the way). Mark and I wandered around the park, looked at the ducks, discovered a wierd drain pipe that was stuck in a monument, and generally waited for the people to clear off the bridge. When they did, we went over to the bridge and looked out at the sunset. Again, I was highly suspicious, but Mark tricked me by saying “should we go?” So, I thought that this was not the moment. However, as soon as we leaned away from the bridge railing, he got down on one knee and said “Well, I don’t have a real ring, but will you marry me, my love?” Of course, I said yes, knelt down, and smooched him. He proposed with a CTR ring, and we picked out the “real ring” the next day. It’s lovely. He’s handsome. We’re in love, and we are getting married on August 5th. That’s 47 days away for those of you who are counting.
PS- one time we played a game where I said that I would like to be proposed to on a bridge. Points to Mark.
Photo credit: McKenzie Thompson Photography
How do you know you’re in love? As my relationship with Mark continues to progress, this is a question I’ve asked myself a few times. I’ve been thinking about it lately. Not in a doubting I-don’t-think-I’m-really-in-love way, but more of a contemplative how-did-I-get-this-lucky sort of way.
I know that I’m in love with Mark because I feel happiest when we’re together. When we talk, I feel like I’m talking to the person who knows my heart the best. My best friend, you might say ; ). He makes me laugh so hard, and often at inappropriate times (institute and sacrament meetings seem to be popular choices). We teach each other things all the time. Things about the world, food, dancing, music, nerd-dom, games, science, languages, art, God, and one another. He is unwaveringly kind. This is what attracted me to him in the first place. His gentleness never ceases to comfort me. When he holds me, I never want him to let go. Mark doesn’t back down when things get hard. I love our adventures, and how excited he gets about things. Like the plants (he has roughly 1 billion plants on his apartment balcony, porch-thing). It’s pretty adorable. I love his openness, and his acceptance of me. I can say anything to him without judgement. This is a big deal to me, and something I’m still learning how to do. He works so hard and cares so deeply for the people in his life. When we have faced hard things, we’ve done so holding onto each other. That, my friends, is love.
How could I not love this handsome man?
Priorities are hard. Expectations are harder. Social narratives tell us that things have to be a certain way, and we have to feel and see and do things a certain way in order to be successful- to be happy and fulfilled. To complicate things further, there is not just one narrative that tells us what we “should” do, but each of us has many conflicting narratives. There’s family, the people you work with, friends, culture and country, religion, and your own perception. None of these are bad. These are usually really, really good. The trick comes when these narratives and expectations rub and bump up against each other. The grey area of life.
But maybe this grey area is where the adventure happens.
I like to plan things. I like to know when and where and how things are happening. It helps me feel like I have at least some control over my own life, and that brings me some comfort. Unfortunately for planners like moi, life thinks it’s funny to be mysterious sometimes. It likes to make us squirm. It’s rude, really. But maybe this is when we learn to live in the grey area. Maybe this is when we have to trust God the most and accept some ambiguity in our lives.
At the end of the day, this grey area helps us to be a whole person. We are given the opportunity to grow in ways which make us uncomfortable, and this gives us depth. Wading through the marshes of conflicting expectations, priorities, views, dreams, and realities can be unpleasant (to put it nicely), but it helps us make progress. It helps us get to where we need to be, even if it feels like it takes us the longest, most convoluted route possible. At the end of the day, we can look back and see that God knew what He was doing. He always does.
I’ve been thinking about words lately. Words are everywhere. We use them almost constantly. We hear them, see them, speak them, and think them. All. The. Time. In my case, I’ve noticed that I mostly keep them inside my head — the important ones, anyway. I keep them where they are safe, where they won’t cause trouble and can’t cause change. Maybe it’s time to set them free.