Oh hey look, it's the love of my life!

"There was an intense emotionality at this time: music I loved, or the long golden sunlight of late afternoon, would set me weeping. I was not sure what I was weeping for, but I would feel an intense sense of love, death, and transience, inseparably mixed."

-- Oliver Sacks, On the Move

So much I want to say, and no clue where to begin.

I could start with the moment he proposed to me beside an outcrop of rocks near the Sky Meadows trailhead, but that moment was surreal.

I could start with the thrilled, marveling look on his face (mirrored on mine as well) when we first used the word fiance, but that look was fleeting.

I could start with the unnerving sensation of my feet floating three feet above the ground, levitated by the outpouring of love and support and exclamation from the people dearest to our hearts, but that sensation moves me to tears every time I examine it, and writing an entire essay about it might lead to hospitalization.

So instead I will start with my first lesson of engaged life -- that to be now on the other side of engagement is to learn exactly what it entails and why it is, in fact, a really big deal.

I don't say that last statement tongue in cheek. After all, I am part of a faith tradition that celebrates and upholds marriage, and I have always applauded sincere commitment, the sacrifice and "death to self" that it entails. It's more that my fiance (!!) and I had been saying to each other for months that we were "engaged in our hearts," so what, we thought, could a mere question change?

Apparently, everything.

In case it's not clear, we're really, REALLY excited.

Stating our commitment out loud -- officially, formally, in a way that asks everyone in our lives to bear witness and keep us accountable -- kicks the whole endeavor up six notches. We have told the world we are serious about each other and our shared life, and by gum the world is going to hold us to it.

And that's just the external effect. There's this whole internal shift too that I didn't fully grasp until my in-that-moment-soon-to-be-fiance (!!) was standing before me, sharing how much he loves me, holding an oval box in his hand, asking me to marry him, and suddenly after years of faceless, backdrop-less daydreams about my future partner, it hit me: Here was the real person, the real deal, and the reality was a million times more profound than anything I'd ever imagined on my own. (Which is saying something, because I have a very active imagination.)

What's more, I finally grasped the full measure and value of my past experiences and relationships, however confused or painful or breathtaking they were, for I would not have become who I am today, or appreciate my partner so fully, without them. How healing, then, to find my person. How healing, to love him. How healing, to experience his love in return.

So much I want to say, and no clue how to say it. So I will simply say, he is here. The bright, kind, compassionate, loving, funny, adventurous, thoughtful, good man I always envisioned. He is finally, beautifully here. He is standing before me. He is standing beside me. He wants me as much as I want him. We are creating a future together, a terrific marriage, one that (God willing) will involve board game nights and Pizza Fridays and bocce on the back lawn and a thriving kitchen garden and Post-It love notes and trips around the world and fat babies we will squeeze and love until they grow up and have fat babies of their own and then we'll squeeze and love them too, and all because we had the great good fortune to join the same guitar group, strike up a conversation, and fall in love.

So much I want to say, but now I have a lifetime to say it to him, over and over and over again.

That's where we'll begin, then. With love.

Prayer #293: The Prayer I'm Thrilled to Finally Write

God of loving covenants,


Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Thank you for this person, for everything he already is, for everything we will become together.

Thank you for this opportunity -- for the chance to draw closer to you through the act of loving another so deeply and completely.

May I ask one more favor, though? (As if you haven't done enough.) Please be the hand that underwrites our contract. Be the witness to our pledge and the buttress for our vows. Help us keep our soul-deep promise to each other as we prepare our own covenant -- one that honors capital-L LOVE, which is to say, you.

And did I say "thank you" yet? Because thank you from the bottom of my puny, weepy, overjoyed human heart as it blossoms ten-fold in gratitude's bright light.