“He’s not going to call us,” I told my wife, Carol. Why would our 30-year-old son Will call us that night? It just didn’t seem likely.
He was proposing to his girlfriend Karen. We knew that for sure. He’d shown us a picture of the ring in its silk-lined box. He’d called up Karen’s parents and asked them for their support.
His future in-laws couldn’t have been more pleased at the prospect of this future son-in-law. We couldn’t be more pleased at the prospect of this future daughter-in-law.
But really, on a Friday night, in the midst of something so quintessentially romantic, why would our son call us to tell us how it went?
We ate dinner that night filled with expectation. We must have said something at grace asking God to bless our son at this auspicious moment. But then, we always include our offspring in prayer at dinner.
Years ago I remember Ruth Stafford Peale, the co-founder of Guideposts, mentioning in one of her books that one of the hardest moments as a parent is watching your children choose their mates for life.
Harder than getting a kid through the terrible twos? I wondered at the time. Now I understood. What more could we pray for our children than that they be as happy in marriage as we have been?
Prayers would have to make that happen because it wasn’t something you as a parent could make happen. After all we don’t live in an era of arranged marriages. We depend on the mysteries of the heart…and well, the profound mystery of a heavenly matchmaker.
What could be a deeper prayer than yearning for your son or daughter to know the holiness of matrimony, how two can be so much better than one?
“There’s a three-hour time difference,” I told Carol. “It would be just too late for him to call if he proposes tonight.” If they had a romantic dinner and he popped the question at eleven in California, it would be two a.m. here.
Imagine my surprise when my cell phone buzzed at 9 p.m., and we clicked onto FaceTime to see two radiant faces and our daughter-in-law-to-be with a ring on her hand. We didn’t have to ask, “Did she say yes?”
Of course there was a funny story about the dog she was house-sitting getting in the way of the proposal, probably wondering why William was down on bended knee.
We hoped they saw the radiance in our faces. “That’s so wonderful,” we said over and over again. “We’re so thrilled for you.”
Surprised by joy would be the way I’d put it. Just in time for Easter. Just the perfect present for the holiday. Yes.