It began as a relatively normal Saturday.
I woke up earlier than usual, because Ben had been an RA/gopher for Drew's "Revive Us Again" music institute and he had encouraged me to sit in on the last day because this conference had been so fantastic. I took his suggestion and attended the closing worship service/closing Q & A session about emerging worship (which I will make a separate post about later this week).
About halfway through the morning, Ben (who was sitting next to me) said, "Oh, shoot! I forgot to copy something for Tanya -- Melissa, I need your keys so I can get into your apartment and use your color printer." Now, to some, this might seem a little far-fetched, if it weren't for the fact that earlier in the week, my printer was pressed into service for the conference because Staples' color copier had broken down and Kinkos' rate was ridiculously expensive. Ben can also admittedly get a little spacey, so this frantic "Oh crap!" moment wasn't anything new either.
I forked over my keys, and he thanked me and asked if I wanted to do lunch because he wasn't sure if he was going to make it back for the rest of the conference (which ended at noon). I said sure, because that's nothing out of the ordinary either. We take most of our meals together anyway, and I had assumed that we'd be doing lunch at my place because (a) to my knowledge, he still hadn't gone grocery shopping for himself and (b) we were already on campus.
The closing worship service ended a bit early, so I called Ben to let him know I was coming over. After all, he did have my keys and so would need to let me in to my apartment building. As I started out the door, Darlene started to talk to me about the fact that she was going to be our new apartment-mate. Since Drake moved out, Beth and I have been using that third bedroom for storage purposes, but next school year Darlene will be living there and using it as a commuter room. So she was asking all sorts of questions about the room; what she needed to bring, what was it furnished with, questions about the bathroom, etc. While she probably would have come to talk to me anyway, little did I know that her minor diversion was a part of some larger scheme.
I called Ben again, apologizing for the fact that I was going to be a little late. As I walked toward the apartment building, I noticed that the door to my section was propped open. While still on the phone, I started reaming out this person who had propped the door open, because we had a huge problem second semester with door propping and our section was assessed a fine for it. I told Ben that I was going to check my mail and then be there at the apartment. I ended the conversation, and decided that my first order of business would be to remove the prop from the door. As I walk toward the door, I look and realize...it's my box of recycling that is holding the door open. Ben was the one propping the door open. I yank out the box and put it in recycling where it belongs, and headed over to the student center to check my mail.
After that, I walked back to the apartment, and called Ben telling him he needed to let me in, and asking him why on earth he would prop the door open. He said something about having easy access and running all over campus and copies. Right. So I'm at the door waiting for him, and down he comes, dressed in a suit and tie. I thought that was somewhat odd (ok, really odd!), but I figured it was something related to the music institute (even though it was over). I started asking him about it, but he just said, "you'll see" as he opened the door to my apartment.
The common room was completely redecorated. 30 tealights in votive candle holders were strewn about the room. The table was pulled out into the middle of the room with a nice white tableclother over it, and the coffetable was pushed back to the wall with a bunch of roses in a vase on top of it. Sheets covered the more unsightly things in the room, and the table was set with nice plate settings, and Norah Jones was on as background music.
I'm getting more than slightly suspicious at this point, but figured that it was a good time to celebrate our one year anniversary (which was yesterday). I couldn't be farther from the truth.
I changed into something a bit nicer, and he sat me down at the table for the first course: caesar salad. During dinner, I'm asking him all sorts of questions, like: When did you find time for this? or Where did you get this? or How'd you find that out? He aptly remarked, "A poet would be utterly swept away by the beauty of it. Only a mathematician or a scientist would ask these sorts of questions." Despite all my questions, I did let him know that I was extremely flattered.
After the salad was done, he pulled out a piece of paper and read me a love poem he had written. He did the same after the fettucine alfredo with chicken and broccoli we had. By this point, I knew what he was going to do.
After the desert course (angel food cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberries), he pulled out his guitar, and I saw him sneak this tiny white box into his pocket. He sat down on the couch nearest me and sang me a song that he had written himself. I nearly broke out into tears it was so sweet. He then got down on one knee...and proposed. And naturally, I said yes. :-)
Needless to say, I was very surprised. We had been talking about getting engaged, and we had said that August would be the best time. So this past weekend, I really hadn't been expecting anything -- it was still July, after all!
We enjoyed the moment...but only for a moment, because he said, "Ok, you have 15 minutes to pack your bags, we have a supper date with my parents at 6!" So I threw a bunch of stuff together for the weekend, he cleared everything away as fast as possible (except for the fact that we had to call public safety to unlock the third bedroom where he had accidentally shut the door after putting all of his stuff in there). We were on the road by 1 PM.
I called my parents with the news while we were on the road, and then we surprised Ben's parents by randomly showing up at the house. We had a co-conspirator in this project; Ben's brother Matt made sure both of his parents were home. They were thrilled; Jan couldn't stop hugging us and crying and jumping up and down. We went out to dinner with them, came back to the house for the night, and on Sunday had breakfast with my parents, announced our engagement at Green St., went out to lunch with the Freys, Olive, Ami, and Ben's family, took a quick nap in Fort Williams, saw my grandmother, introduced Ben to my high school friends and ate supper with them, and then we went back to Ben's parents' place to look at their wedding photos and get a good night's sleep. We came back from this whirlwind tour on Monday, and stopped in to the Dean's Office and the Admissions Office to let people at Drew know. Karen knew, because obviously I was going to be late for work on Monday - but I had a very good excuse.
Last night we sent out an e-mail to our friends and family announcing our engagement. Fitting, that we did so on our one year anniversary. I also attached a picture of the ring I had taken Monday evening when I was playing around with my camera:
Everybody loved my ring. :-)
My relatively normal Saturday turned into the once-in-a-lifetime experience of engagement. Ben and I are engaged, and we're planning on getting married in August 2007 at Green St. UMC. Part of me is still stunned - something that Ben and I have talked about for so long is finally a reality. I really, honestly, have a ring on my finger! But I am also so excited that God has truly called the two of us to spend a lifetime in partnership with one another. I couldn't be more happy. :-)