Spring break was now over. I felt like I had experienced one thousand emotions over the past ten days. I was Excited to go home and introduce Devin to my parents. I was ecstatic and shocked when Devin asked me to marry him. I was saddened at the death of Devin’s granddad. I was disappointed when we had to leave Alabama so soon and I was confused and hurt when Devin asked me not to tell anyone about our engagement.
I had hoped that Devin and I could talk after everything had slowed down a bit. I needed to know what was going on in his head. Was he having second thoughts? Did he think he had made a huge mistake. I needed to know. On the drive home that night he was quiet. I tried to make small talk but he didn’t seem interested in the least. “are you alright?” I finally got up the nerve to ask. “yeah”, he replied. I waited for more of a response but nothing came. “Are you sure nothing is wrong?” I asked once again. “yeah”, he said once again. His one word answers were driving me nuts! I knew something was going on and I aimed to find out what it was. “something is wrong and you know it”, I said bravely, “you have been quiet for three days, you hardly talk to me and you don’t want anyone to know that you asked me to marry you. What’s going on?” He sat there, quietly driving in the night while I waited with bated breath for his response. Did I want to know what his answer was? Maybe not, but I needed to know because not knowing was driving me crazy. I sat there, waiting with my heart pounding out of my chest, fighting back the alligator tears that treated to burst forth at any moment. More silence. “Are you having second thoughts?” I said, “are you thinking maybe you did the wrong thing by asking me to marry you?” Finally, in the quiet darkness he softly said, “I don’t know, maybe.”
Well, there it was. Doubt. I was heart-broken and devastated. I sat there quietly and calmly while tears streamed down my face. I didn’t want him to know I was crying. I didn’t want to be that blubbering, over emotional, desperate girlfriend whose world was falling apart. So for mile after mile I sat there, crying silently, trying to piece together what I had just heard. “I’m sorry”, he said tenderly, “I don’t mean to upset you. I love you and I want us to be together but I’m not sure I’m ready for marriage.” “then why did you ask me?” I said. It became very quiet once again. “did I do something wrong? Did I say something to make you change your mind?” “no, no, no”, he said, “it’s not you…it’s me. I love you, that’s why I asked you to marry me…I just don’t know if I’m ready.”
I was stunned. I wanted an answer and I got one. Now what was I going to do with it?
Later that night, as he walked me to my dorm, we stood there in silence. I knew he loved me…I knew that. But I wasn’t sure how much. Did he love me enough to spend the rest of his life with me? I knew what I wanted but obviously he didn’t, so the ball was in his court. He held me close and said, “I love you…you know that right? I’m sorry if I’ve upset you.” ” I understand”, I said, “but if you’re unsure about our engagement, then as of right now, we are no longer getting married. The engagement is off.” “but I love you…I still want to see you.” “you will”, I replied with tears in my eyes, “but the engagement plans are off until you can make up your mind about what you want.” I hugged his neck and turned to go inside.
I cried all the way down the hall and to my room. I unpacked my things and made my way to the prayer chapel down the hall. I was all alone in the chapel as I prayed in a soft whisper, “Lord, I love you with all of my heart, and I want to live my life according to your perfect will. I also love Devin with all of my heart, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him, but if he is not your perfect will for my life then I won’t marry him. Please give me wisdom. Amen” I stood up from that place knowing I would be ok no matter what.
The next morning I woke up bright early and made my way to my 7:30 class as I had done many time before. This time I did something a little different though. I didn’t wait for Devin to meet me at the end of the walk. I just went on without him. After my class was over I found Devin waiting for me outside my classroom door. When I saw him smiled and said, “good morning!”. “Where we’re you this morning? He asked, “I waited for you and you never came.” “well, I thought we’d just play it cool of a while until you figured things out…so I just walked by myself.” “I still want to see you…I mean we are still dating right?”, he asked. “oh we can still date”, I said, “but not steady until you figure everything out on your end.” I could tell he wasn’t real happy with the arrangements I had made, but I didn’t care…I wasn’t foolin’ around!
Weeks went by. We still saw each other every day. We ate together and walked together and even went out a few time but things were definitely not the same. I prayed the same prayer daily…for God’s perfect will and for wisdom to know it when I saw it.
One day soon thereafter, Devin asked if I wanted to go see Russ Taff in concert at Evangel College. I agreed. The auditorium was full and the concert was great but I was miserable. My heart was breaking and there was no end in sight for a solution. At the end of the concert Russ sang his signature song and asked for everyone to hold hands and sing along while he sang, “friends are friends forever”. Devin reached over and took my hand. It was warm as usual and strong. As we stood there singing the words to the song, I was reminded of the first night he told me that he loved me, and that he loved me as a friend before he ever loved me in any other way. I wondered how he loved me now. As a friend? Or was it more? There we stood, hand in hand, singing the words of the song while tears welled up in my eyes.
After the concert Devin asked me if I wanted to go see a movie the next night and once again I agreed. Even though we saw each other daily there had not been as many dates as before. Things had been pretty cool between us, so I was looking forward to a real date. He picked me up that night at my dorm and we went out to dinner and a movie. We both had a nice time…it was a welcome change. As we sat watching the movie, Devin reached over and took my hand. My heart sank. There it was! His calm, I could literally feel it! He took my hand and gently rubbed the back of my hand with his thumb. He was gentle and reassuring. He leaned over, kissed my cheek and whispered, “I love you.” I took his hand and placed it on left side of my face and held it tight, fighting back the tears. I loved him so much! And I knew he loved me, but was it enough?
Later that night, as we sat in the car talking, Devin began to explain to me how he felt and what had been going on with him. “I’m sorry for everything. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my days with you. I just needed to make sure it was right and that we weren’t rushing into things. I still don’t want everyone to know…not just yet. It’s not because I’m unsure, I don’t want people to think we’re just another couple rushing into marriage, that’s all” I understood what he was saying and agreed to keep it our little secret…except for a few close friends ;-). To be continued…