Remember 4

We had been married for four months. We had moved three times (another memory). Marc had moved from Starbucks barista to an admissions counselor at our college. And I was knee deep in my senior year.

Part of Marc’s glamorous job responsibilities as admissions counselor was to visit and recruit from his territory – Ohio. So the time came. Our first significant time apart since our wedding.

I don’t remember feeling terribly apprehensive or nervous about this separation. We were busy enough that I imagine it must have been more a matter of course – but this is through the lens of 25 years of his travelling for one thing or another. Maybe I have forgotten. But what I do remember about this trip is spending a night or two or three with his mother and sister in the condo at Old Orchard Beach Maine. The main living room faced out into the ocean. It was fall and I think our days were surrounded in endless grays and whites in the sky and Atlantic.

I remember cooking. I remember sitting on the couches under heavy knit afghans as we all worked on knitting projects ourselves. We watched either Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995) or Anne of Green Gable followed by Anne of Avonlea – either way it was VHS style binge-watching.

I remember being warm and not alone. That first time Marc travelled.

Remember 3

Our college required attendance at chapel. Most of the time, this was fine. A large percentage of the community gathered together (I liked our community) and the speakers and leaders were gifted.

I remember I was in a class with Marc’s (Beloved and Revered) academic advisor that met immediately after chapel at the other end of the campus on the top floor at the end of a hallway in an old castle. And it was during this brief transition time between the chapel service and Old Testament Prophets class that Marc decided to propose.

The proposal itself wasn’t exactly a surprise. We had been talking about the direction we thought our relationship was headed, and even about the timeline. But the actual location and timing was a surprise.

Here is how it happened:
Our chaplain had been doing a series called “God’s will for your life, one wife or two’. It was a pastoral (and humorous) look at Free Will and PreDestination. There were robots and stuffed frogs involved, if I remember correctly. At the end of the chapel service, as we all rose and began collecting our things, Marc looked around and saw “All the people I want to be with me when I propose are here”. His sister, my roommate, dear friends.

So he knelt (I think on the pew, not between the pews) and pulled a blue satin pouch with Hindi lettering on it out of his pocket. (He had bought the diamond in Calcutta where we had been on a missions trip just weeks before!) and asked me to marry him. I remember saying yes. He remembers me saying “I’m going to be late for class”.

Either way, his sister screamed “I just got a new sister” and my roommate screamed “my roommate just got engaged” and the chaplain (who had been mentoring us in our dating relationship with his wife) wondered if maybe he should have done an altar call.

The tradition at our college was to ring a bell to announce the engagement to the whole campus. So after we accepted congratulations, we hustled to The Bell and rang it. (Once or more, I don’t remember.)

“The Bell”

Then we hurried me to class. Where I was late. And I have no idea what I learned that day. But I am beginning to understand what I signed up for with a yes that day and continue to be learning with my best friend over the course of the years to come.