Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breaking In My New Pair of Heels:Engagement Day -7.18.09

"The weather is a little questionable -you still want to go? And the Mets are on tomorrow..." "You don't want to go because of the Mets???" I asked in my sweetest sounding voice. "No, no - that's fine. Let's go. I'm sure the weather will be fine." "I think we should do it. I feel like if we don't go this weekend, we'll never get around to rescheduling." "OK. I'm gonna go to bed soon. I'll be at your house at 3:30 am. Call me around 2:45am to make sure I'm up."

And that was the plan: to get to Montauk Point in time to see the sunrise. This was something we had wanted to do last summer but never got around to it. So we finally just picked this weekend to go. There was a chance of rain on Friday night, but it was supposed to clear up on Saturday. We decided to go for it.

Three-thirty came, and we were off to a good start, minus the slow drivers on a 2-lane road at 4 in the morning [That's par for the course with James, though]. The only other glitch was that our last chance to get coffee came and went as we passed the Southampton 7-11. Who knew the rest of the Hamptons were too good for a 7-11? Point noted.

The bad drivers failed to deter us, and we arrived at Montauk Point Lighthouse well before the sun did. Coffee-less, we walked down to the shore and were happy to find it was dry, albeit foggy and overcast. We were hopeful that we might see some remnants of a sunrise. Me? I was just happy to be there with him, doing something fun and adventurous. While James was setting up the blanket, I start setting up my camera and timer to take some pictures. "Katie, can we just sit for a minute? Do you have to do that now?" "We hardly have any pictures of us. It will only take a second." He conceded. :) (See Exhibit A above).

A few shots later, James took out his Charles Spurgeon devotional, as is our custom. James read our morning devotion and then grabbed my hand to pray. I bowed my head and closed my eyes. I didn't hear anything. I opened one eye and looked at him with a question. "I was just making sure your eyes were shut," he said. [Earlier that week, we had been in a park eating lunch, and when he prayed for our food, he noticed that my eyes were open. 'Do you always do that?' he asked. 'Hmmm, sometimes.' 'Well, that creeps me out.' 'OK, OK - I'll close them.'] "They're shut."

James then proceeded to pray. After we said, "Amen," he said to me, "I have to ask you a question." Knowing that James often asks me questions that are either proceeded or followed by a mischievous smirk, with mild trepidation and slight impatience I asked, "What?" He reached behind his back, produced an open jewelry box and said, "I wanted to ask you if you would marry me."

Now it's funny, because subconsciously I think I've always had a picture in my mind of what this moment would be like: the background music would build and crescendo, we would both be in tears, and after his profuse declarations of love and adoration, I would sob, "Yes! Yes I will marry you!" (I'm not exactly sure who I inserted to play myself in this fantasy...who is this girl and where did she come from???)

But in actuality, the record screeched to a halt, and my brain struggled to absorb what was actually happening and tried to catch up. Oh my gosh. James just proposed. To me. He asked me to marry him - What do I do???? For a fraction of a moment, time in the real world froze, and I felt like an actress who stepped out of character for a second, lost her place and forgot her lines. Totally disoriented. Crap! What's going on? What am I supposed to be doing?? I didn't practice this! This isn't the way I rehearsed it! Where am I????

Now this had nothing to do with my feelings for James or because I didn't know the answer. I knew I loved James with all my heart and I knew that when he asked me this question, 100% my answer would be yes. But I just felt so unprepared. It was so unexpected. I was totally caught off guard. I felt like it was happening to someone else who was borrowing my body. For this split second, I didn't feel like me. This couldn't possibly be happening to me!

All of this culminated on the pinhead of a second, and just as quickly as I was flung into that alternate universe, I returned back to reality. Finding my voice, I looked at the man who had just proposed to me, hugged him and said, "Yes - I would be so happy to marry you."

We spent some more time on the beach, absorbing what had just taken place between us, and James filled me in to all of the devious maneuvering he had had to do in order to pull this off and surprise me: meeting with a friend who knew a jeweler - back in March, getting my dad's blessing while I was in Morocco, praying with our pastor and pre-covenant leader, and other various, assorted, ring-shopping excursions. Just the night before, when he said he was going to 'bed,' he really drove to Massapequa to get the ring and then to his mom's house to show it to her. Even the Mets were a sneaky little diversion.
All this time, I never knew it was coming. We hadn't talked concretely about dates, plans - nothing - and we never even once discussed a ring at all. Never once. He did this all on his own. And while I spent significant amounts of time worrying during his silences, I'm so glad I held my tongue and let him plan this himself. It meant so much more to me to find out all the forethought he put into it.
We finally left the beach to get breakfast and I was so excited - and so frustrated that there was no one to share our news with! I just wanted to tell strangers! So, at 6:30 in the morning, I couldn't wait anymore and sent the following text: "Just wanted to let you know - I have a beautiful new ring on my left ring finger!!!" And then the texts and phone calls slowly began to pour in as the rest of the world woke up. After breakfast at Mr. John's, we called my parents and my mom shouted, "I knew it! I just knew it! When I heard you were going to Montauk, I knew today would be the day!" And so it was.

The rest of our day evolved into becoming an all-day celebration of our engagement: hiking in Shadmoor State Park, finding a semi-secluded corner of the beach, driving around and exploring all different hidden places in Montauk. We even ran across these great Australian guys who tipped us off to this great place to catch the sunset. Even these guys were genuinely excited for us!

So, we finished our day by going to Sunset Saloon to get pina coladas and to see one of the most breathtaking sunsets I've ever seen. It more than made up for our missed sunrise. We grabbed some Chinese at Wok and Roll on our way out of town and then we had the fun of sharing our news in church the next day. One of the best things was that everyone seemed so genuinely excited for us.. Even on Facebook, the congratulations just flooded in...I was so overwhelmed and humbled by that. We felt God's smile on us the whole time.
And that is how we got engaged :)

I still find myself looking at my ring in disbelief. Did that really happen? Am I really engaged? Someone loves me enough to want to spend the rest of his life with me? My life feels surreal and foreign and scarily unfamiliar sometimes. Sometimes, I still feel like I'm on the outside looking in at someone else's life - but it's really mine. From the inside looking out, I feel like the awkward, fumbling, clumsy bride instead of the beauty-pageant-I've-been-groomed-for-this-my-whole-life bride. It doesn't feel familiar - or normal - to me yet. Not quite comfortable, but I love the discomfort of it, too. It's like those darn heels that just hurt so much when you first get them, but you love them so much you don't want to take them off and you just endure the pain. You know that if you just wear them long enough, soon they will fit like a pair of worn-in flip flops.

The bride-to-be I am is a little different than the bride-to-be I imagined I'd be. But it is getting more comfortable every day. And it almost doesn't matter anyway- because I'm sure that when I'm just about broken in, it will be time to trade in my flip flops, and there'll be a new pair of heels waiting.


  1. Welcome to SITS!

    Very nice posting. Congrats on your engagement. It is wonderful to hear your happiness. So I'm ready for the date and the pretty wedding pictures!!! LOL