Brian is a planner. He sees forward 10 steps and acts accordingly. This is an admirable quality in any mate. For Jessica, it meant a perfectly surprising proposal. She was planning on a nice evening out with a friend from out of town. A friend of Brian’s. He’d texted her the day before, saying how much he was looking forward to seeing them both. And so Jess spent the early evening dressing and primping. Brian, meanwhile, was texting with that same friend, smiling at how his plan was playing out. The friend wasn’t in town. It was just a simple cover. He pulled the Champagne he’d hidden in the back of the fridge out, and plunged it into the ice bucket. Jess started to come down the stairs and he quickly stood in front of his surprise. “Ready?” she inquired. “Yes, and no.” he answered, a sly smile spreading across his face until it crinkled his eyes and turned mischievous. She paused, curious. “What do you mean?” He reached into his pocket. “Well, first you have to answer a question…”
He was the cute guy wearing a flannel and holding a football in his profile picture. She was the girl tired of the misses on eHarmony. So, she threw caution to the wind and tossed him a line out of her usual norm: “Happy Hump Day! I hope that’s not too aggressive”. It turns out it wasn’t, and before she knew it she was breaking more of her own rules and stepping into his car for their first date. Hours slid by rapidly that night as they talked. They realized they had been missing each other’s passes for years – living parallel and never intersecting. They had been at the same parties, flown to Chicago on the same weekends, even lived in the same building. It was a tale of narrow misses with your other half. Until now.
He fidgeted in the pew, trying to find a comfortable position. His bible slipped off his lap onto the floor and he leaned over to retrieve it. It was just beyond his fingertips and he stretched a little farther. Just as he got a grasp on it, a beautiful song started to fill the air. He looked up to see who it was. A girl he hadn’t seen before, with long brown hair and a clear command of her spirit, was leading worship. He sat there, a bit in awe for a moment, taking in her song, the sound of her voice. The last chord on the keyboard brought a half-embarrassed smile to her face and he noticed she looked up towards him briefly. A feeling washed over him. This was his wife. Wait, what? He looked down, shook his head a bit. No, that is clearly what had just been whispered in his mind. He looked again at Kelsey. He sat with the thought a moment, feeling it warm slowly inside his chest. He smiled, and blinked. Kelsey was standing again, about to sing. So he set his eyes on her and allowed himself to get caught back up into the service. Months later, he had asked her on a date, and then another, and she found herself falling despite the reservations of her independent spirit. She hadn’t really been looking, and that was clear since Dan had been right under he nose and yet somehow completely un-noticed by her. She wasn’t sure she was ready and so she figured it might be best to put this in someone else’s hands. So, she started asking for clear, undeniable signs from God. She requested detailed, specific things – conversations she felt they needed to have, concerns she held deep, worries she was afraid to discuss. Over and over again, there would be another date with Dan the next day, and much to her surprise and delight, he would bring up these same concerns and lay them bare for examination. The signs were large, lit in neon and sometimes even blinking. And so, on a chilly fall day, on a hike, Dan asked the final question, and Kelsey said yes.
There’s only really one thing you need to know about Sri: He’s remarkable. How many people do you know that could send out an invite to 24 out of town guests and get them to fly to Chicago, in January, on a whim, to celebrate his engagement? But that’s exactly what he did, and what happened. When you talk to Kim – she tells you this part of the story first – because it points out just how amazing her fiance is. When you talk to Sri, he talks about how amused he was when she got mad about him insisting they walk 2 blocks out of their way in the snow so he could propose in front of her old apartment. When it comes to what Sri loves, not much stands in his way.
She spotted him in a bar. One slow-sipped drink later and there were so many commonalities in front of them, it was as if the path had just been paved for their future. And it had, but such groundwork was laid long before that night. His family, her family, they had danced around each other many times back in Greece. Both had immigrated to the U.S. Both had become restauranteurs. And now, their children had finally crossed paths. So it was fate that these two would go back to Greece, to explore the homelands of those families. And that, while standing on a cliff in Santorini, Kosta would pull out a ring…
For Shawna and Trevor, the pieces just fell into place. They were co-workers with a spark, but who also were dating other people. Those relationships dissolved naturally, and they found themselves chatting it up and seeing reflected in this other person, everything they had been looking for. Trevor stole Shawna’s heart in short order and before either of them knew it, suddenly they were living together and talking about marriage. When your puzzle is complete, its complete. There is an ease in knowing that, and it is something these two just exude when they are together. One is so well complimented by the other, and there is such comfort there. You just know you are witnessing an old married couple, rocking on the porch swing together, reminiscing about the old days….
He grabbed her hand and led her off the barstool. She was still admiring the candles all over the bar and trying to figure out what was happening. She gave the bartender, his brother Keith, a questioning look. Keith shrugged. Kyle stopped short at the hostess stand. She touched the corner with her hand, ran her fingers along the edge. This is where they met. It flashed in her mind. He, all smiles and sparkling eyes. Her, a nervous twitch with her ankle and an abandoned hostess stand as their small flirtation turned into a three-hour conversation. He was talking. She looked at him. He was describing the same moments. She smiled. He got down on one knee. She stared at him. “Will you marry me?” She watched the words come out of his mouth but didn’t hear them. He smiled. She hugged him exuberantly. “Michelle? Are you going to leave me hanging?” He asked. “Oh! Yes! My answer is yes!”
They were four goofball college guys. Dressed up like their fathers might have looked back in the day – short shorts, Burt Reynolds style mustaches, tall knee socks, pale legs. Their goofing-off was part of their school spirit and a fun way to blow-off steam on game day. She had spotted them last week, and found their little routine endearing. So this Saturday she was on the lookout. She turned a corner and she heard them cheering. She pulled her friend closer to her, partly hiding behind her and grabbed her phone. She lined up the cutest one on the screen, waited for the camera phone to focus. “Hey! Pictures have a price!” She looked up. He had caught her. His smile was teasing, impish. She smiled back. “What’s the price?” she countered. “A date.” he stated. “Done.” she said, snapping her picture.
If you are wondering how such an encounter has led to a wedding day….I can’t tell the story any better than this video. Enjoy!
When I started high school, I remember distinctly the principal addressing the freshman class in the auditorium; “Look to your left and your right. In four years, one of those people will not be there”. He was right. For Emma & Spence, the story goes a bit differently. On the first day of law school, Emma sat down next to a cute guy with a Calvin & Hobbes screen saver. He smiled at her. She smiled at him. And in my version of the story, someone said “Look to your left, look to your right. You are going to marry one of those people one day”. Well, a storyteller can dream anyway. In the real version, they became friends, and at a halloween party two years later, they finally started dating. You could say it was because one of them was dressed as a Packers QB, the other as Tinkerbelle. Spence was the one donning the fairy wings. Hard to say if it was that self-effacing humor or the southern charm that oozes out of his every gesture. One way or another though, Emma was smitten, and the rest is history.
When you pick apart Jenna & Drew’s story, you find a couple who have been intertwined by fate more than once. It’s clear their paths were crafted with a few “plan b” options to make sure they ended up together. Their meeting was most unlikely and many would chalk it up to happenstance. Both on vacations with their families in Mexico, someone from her family knew someone from his. A birthday bash was being thrown at the local bar, and those two someones suggested that Jenna go to it. Before she knew it she had been camped out on a barstool for hours, chatting it up with a guy from Iowa. When they returned to normal life and their respective cities, she realized she had been courting an internship in his hometown. A little willpower made that a reality, and he pointed out how his parent’s guest house was suddenly available to stay in. And so it goes, through school semesters, jobs, moves here and there. Jenna and Drew kept winding this way and that, sometimes crossing paths, sometimes running parallel, but always with that final destination in mind. And so here we are, on a different sort of beach in Door County, ready to make it permanent and submit to fate.