Our Story: Moving Forward

{To read the rest of our story, click “our story” in the category cloud. Ezra’s comments are in italics}

Morning of the 23rd we went to the desert with friends. The sand was hot so when we started going up a big dune we’d run a little ways and then stop to sit and take our feet out of the sand.

Eventually we made it to the top. The sand was cooler on the top, and on the opposite side. Ezra and I were a little ways away from everyone enjoying the view, and apparently he was about to propose when I said we should go join everyone else up higher. We did, and a few minutes later I asked Hannah if she wanted to come with us to the top peak. We started heading out, me in front, then Ezra, then Nate – I’m not sure where Hannah was – and then Ezra – without me knowing – told Nate to go back to everyone else. At this point, Nate realized what was happening and did an excellent job of keeping anyone from following Kyleigh and me. One of the girls was wondering why she couldn’t come up to the top with us and then she, like everyone else (except me), realized what was happening.

When we sat down on top, I thought everyone else was just taking a long time and didn’t think anything of it. He told me the other night when we were looking at stars with Andrew’s telescope he had had a breakthrough on the poem he was writing. He asked if I wanted to hear it and I said yes, thinking nothing of it. He started reciting it, and when he got to “Which everlasting, seem, to you and I,” he looked at me and I wondered if it might be a proposal, but didn’t really think so until he got to “two souls joined into one” and then by “of bride and groom in glory yet to be,” I was thinking of Hodel’s statement in Fiddler on the Roof, “I think you’re asking you to marry me.” I didn’t say anything, not knowing if it was just a poem, or if I was supposed to say “yes” or what… and then he said “And there’s one more line,” then fished the box out of his pocket and said “Kyleigh, will you marry me?” I said yes, and we smiled at each other for a little while and then stood up. Everyone cheered as we came back, and we stood there talking to everyone for a while before we walked back to the cars – holding hands for the first time. I was so clueless that he was going to propose that day that I didn’t bring my good camera, only my old one.
Truth be told, even though I had practice the poem a number of times, I still fumbled a few of the lines. I was extremely nervous, but I couldn’t tell how much of my heart pounding was due to having just sprinted up a sand dune, and how much of it was due to what I was about to ask.
In the car on the way home a few hours later we talked about the symbol of the morning glory and the vine on my ring and box. The morning glory, like marriage, is something that fades and doesn’t last forever – and yet it’s attached to a vine, which is Christ, and marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. The morning glory is the shadow, and the vine is the glory.
At home we emailed our friends and smiled a lot and then got ready to go to the mall – we decided we’d go to Paul’s for dinner and then meet the rest of the family for gelato after seeing the fountains. Our drive out was joyous and then we found Paul’s… our first date! We got juice and I had salmon and he had duck and we talked and saw glimpses of the fountain and tried to wrap our heads around that it was real, and talked about the “arbitrariness” of the end of a courtship, how after all that hard heart-wrenching stuff it boils down to what we want.

{Watching the fountains from Paul’s}
We finished eating and walked down to the fountains where we walked around and stood in a quiet place. Then we went to Book World for a bit before going to meet the family at Morelli’s. We drove home with Nate, who decided a synonym for love birds could be “llama ducks.”
At home we talked in the kitchen with mommy and daddy about some wedding plans… so exciting!
People keep asking me if I was surprised – I was expecting him to propose sometime on the trip (because although different, I didn’t really want a Skype proposal!) but I wasn’t expecting him to propose when he did. I was so clueless that I left my good camera at home. But I’m glad it was then, in the desert I love so much, with people I love so much.

The 24th we had people over for dinner, so much of the day focused on that. But we had time to watch Rabbi Jacob, walk to the store, look through my Hope Chest, talk about home décor, finish looking at my kids’ books, look at Jordan pictures, skype the Kadys and Dunns, and cook together. Dinner was with people from all over the world – “united nations.” So glad he could share that culture with me. It was bittersweet, though, to know I’ll have to leave that grand gathering of brothers and sisters. We did the dishes together before everyone went to their rooms, not wanting to wake up on Christmas with a mess of dishes.
Of course, when we skyped them, the Kadys were the soul of dignity, while my own siblings were their normal, rascally and riotous selves. Christmas eve dinner was very special to me, seeing so many nationalities united by the same hope and faith.

Christmas morning was relaxed and wonderful. Opening presents, making eggs and breakfast, and then he surprised me with a dozen roses. After breakfast we finished presents and played Pandemic and looked at my scrapbooks. We made dinner (planning some wedding stuff while we stirred fondue!) and ate before heading out to the desert. The moments were getting sadder since I knew he would leave so soon. In the car we talked with mommy and daddy about some detail things like how communication would change, counseling, being in a brainstorming stage, etc. We talked to other people and talked about wedding (“How about music from “UP?” “I was just thinking that!”). Before singing and the skit started we sat alone together and talked about the past 8 months and how hard they were and how God got us through them and how they made the sovereignty of God a REAL thing to us instead of just knowing. And we talked about how good theology can help you through times of trial, and how when he talked about winning my heart – that he already had, in theology and likemindedness, God had knit our hearts together. And then was the usual carol singing and reenactment of the Christmas story. After a break the sharing time opened up and Ezra and I started it off announcing our engagement and the goodness of God in working it all out.
Then we drove home, and the impending departure really started to hit me. At home we looked at some wedding things on the computer and then we prayed with everyone and mommy and daddy talked to us some about continuing to guard our hearts and also some more about planning and engagement.
And then came probably the hardest, saddest, yet most beautiful part of the trip. Everyone else left for about 15 minutes and Ezra and I were holding hands and talking, barely above a whisper. It was hard, but full of encouragement and though sad, there was joy knowing what was coming. And then we took him to the airport.
Those last few hours, especially the last few minutes, were also my favorite part of the trip, though they were the hardest. It was incredible for me to realize that I had already won Kyleigh’s heart, and that we were already sharing a significant love. It was not by the strength of our own righteousness or the firmness of our own wisdom that God brought us together. It was by His own mercy and the working of His grace in our lives. All praise be to Him for the beautiful shadow that godly love can be, and even more praise for the real thing, heaven!

I’m trying to wrap my mind around all that’s happened in the past months, and can’t – it’s so otherworldly, so GOD. There is no way we could have gotten through this just the two of us, or even with our families and churches. Our courtship was so full of trials that only His grace was able to get us through. It was God bringing us together – from the start, 4 years ago on Apricotpie, to writing Rosie, to the conference in 2011, to leave in June and all the trials we had to work through with theology, distance, the past, callings, the future… And every trial brought us closer to each other – whether we learned to understand each other, forgive each other, or were just strengthened by being brought through the same flame – the flame that shall not hurt, only refine.
As Ezra said in our last ten minutes together – “It is a wondrous thing God has done.”

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3 thoughts on “Our Story: Moving Forward

  1. homeschooledlady says:

    Dear Kyleigh, this is just amazing and special. I want to cry for some reason; tears are in my eyes, I don’t know why. Your and Ezra’s story is just so, like you said, GOD! I guess we both know that – like you said, God is always up to something great! I’m praying for you both.

    …the Kadys were the soul of dignity, while my own siblings were their normal, rascally and riotous selves. – that made me smile. 🙂

    Like

  2. James Dunn says:

    “…the Kadys were the soul of dignity, while my own siblings were their normal, rascally and riotous selves.”
    Hmmm… rascally? riotous? I thought I kept them all well under control. I’ll try harder next time.

    Like

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