For almost 3 years I was single…..
Very lonely time in my life indeed. During that season of singleness I discovered a song called Goodmorning by the wonderful William Fitzsimmons. The song is very simple:
“Moonlight will fall, winter will end.
Harvest will come, your heart will mend.
Goodmorning, you will find love.”
Simple yet extremely encouraging to a young man on the lookout for love.
This evening the morning broke through the dawn and the sun shined brightly. Harvest came in bountifully.
It was a harvest of love.
Moonlight had fallen and the winter had ended. The heart had been mended.
The heart had been granted a desire placed there by the Craftsman Himself.
My heart had found love…..
I have known Courtney Howard since I have been a Johnson Bible College. In September of 2009 I was walking across the campus in front of the P-dub and she was coming out of the PW Building. It was the first time we met. I, like I always do, had my iconic headphones on and was rocking to some lovely Brett Dennen. I told her kindly that she should listen to him and that it was nice meeting her.
Fast forward to December and January and that is when she and I began to chat on facebook a lot more and began getting to know one another. Then in early February we went on our first date to see When In Rome.
A relationship was in the beginning stages 🙂
I want bore you with every detail between that first date in February and tonight, but I must say that the road has been interesting, amazing, and just a blessing to my life.
I decided I wanted to ask her parents for her hand in marriage about 3 weeks ago after I had purchased the ring the previous week. So I drove up to ask their permission and their blessing to which they said yes. Thankfully, and I’m eternally grateful for their response and their trust in me to take care of and provide for their daughter. They will not regret it. 🙂
So I finally got all that done. So all that was left was to figure out how.
It finally hit me to ask Courtney on her Confirmation day. We are Anglicans. And in the Anglican Communion we have Confirmation into the Church. She was getting confirmed on Halloween, which happens to be one of our favorite holidays.
So I had also ordered this stuffed Cookie Monster that I wanted to incorporate into my proposal because she and I both love him and Sesame Street. Plus, she is a teacher so it works well.
Thanks to one of my best friends, Mike B., I got the idea to cut a whole in the Cookie Monster and sew the ring to a tiny heart from Build-a-Bear. Well, I went to Build-a-Bear to see about this, and they recommended I just buy a little stuffed heart with the words ‘i love you’ on the front and on the back a velcro pouch to hide the ring. The heart then would wrap around little Cookie Monsters arms to make it look like he was holding it.
The other part of the plan was to ask her to go on a date to Cades Cove after her Confirmation because she and I had been wanting to go for some time.
So the plan was in place. I did that. Now, all there was left to do was wait for Halloween to get here.
So today finally got here. We got to Cades Cove and got about half way through the park when we took the road to go to Abrams Falls.
We got out and I got my book bag out and told her I have my surprise gift for her Confirmation in it and that I want to give it to her.
So we walked over this bridge to the other side of the river where there were some places to sit along the waters edge.
It was so serene. So tranquil. So peaceful.
The perfect spot had come to me without even trying to find one.
So I told her to turn her head that I wanted to give her the gift.
I pulled Cookie Monster out of my bookbag and held it in my arms and told her to turn around.
She was so excited. She loved it. She thought that was all there was.
Now, last night I had texted her pretending to be Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster told her he couldn’t wait to see her on Sunday because he had a surprise. She had no idea why I was acting so goofy.
So after she held Cookie Monster for awhile. I told her to check the back of the heart for a cookie. That he had a gift in there for her.
She opened and saw the ring inside the pouch on the back of the heart. She turned to me and said, “Jon, do you have something you want to ask me.”
I took the ring from her hand and said, “Yes, I do.”
I was very very nervous even though I knew she was going to say yes.
I asked her if she wanted to stand up while I knelt down, but said never mind that I am just going to kneel while she is sitting down. Again, I was quite nervous.
I looked at her while kneeling and asked, “Courtney, will you marry me?”
She said, “Yes!”
I was shaking pretty badly because of the nerves so I put the ring on and said, “Shoot, if I can get it on because I’m shaking so badly, but I hope it fits.”
It fortunately did fit.
So that is the story of our proposal. I’m sure Courtney will blog about it from her perspective, least I hope.
I am head-over-heels in love with this lady. From the bottom of my heart I would do anything for her.
She demonstrates to me everyday a Christ-like love that is so strong that it forces me to examine my own love and if it measures up to that of Christ’s.
Courtney came into my life at a time when I was just pass a depressing stage. I was frustrated with the Church and with all humanity.
She restored my faith in them.
I am forever grateful for her healing hands in my life.
She is a wonderfully warm, sweet, and loving person.
As a future priest I never have to look far away to know what a Christ-like love looks like.
William Fitzsimmons says, “Love is wonderfully fragile and yet exceedingly weighty thing. And although we must carry the hurt we cause another, we are likewise able to always retain the love that is given to us and the love that we unreservedly give away.”
Wow, that is simply so poetic.
There will be times when we hurt one another in our marriage. There will be times when things go badly, but……
There will be times when we retain all that love we share. We will retain all the love that has enveloped for Christ is the umbrella around us.
He is the Foundation upon which we have constructed our relationship.
The Holy Word tells us, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
We take that literally. Without Him our marriage and relationship will not hold together. That is our theme for this relationship.
Our love can last if we only let it grow…
So often we do things do hinder love.
But when your love is grounded in Him who holds ALL things together then you can expect that love to grow and flourish.
So yes, love is a wonderfully fragile yet exceedingly weighty thing, but…..
Courtney and I have decided to bear the weight beneath the guidance and foundation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I’ve never been more happy be weighed down.
I love you Courtney Howard. I look forward to bearing that weight and sharing in all that comes with it: pain, trial, hardship, joy, laughter, and blessings.
I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone else, my love.
I love you,