Saturday, August 11, was a day spent having fun with my family and friends – we went ice skating at Singapore’s one and only full-sized ice rink with my parents, and saw a movie. Then we went to a friend’s for a BBQ. As we headed out the door Coleman brought along his bag with his change of clothes from earlier. I asked if he wanted to just leave it at my parents – I could bring it to him the next morning, or we could pick it up later, but he insisted on bringing it along. I thought it was odd, shrugged and said ‘ok’. Off we went. We were late getting to the BBQ, and there were fewer people there than I had thought would be attending, so I felt that we should stay later than we’d originally planned. Had I known what was coming, I’d have left sooner!
When we did leave, at about 10PM, Coleman asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the Botanic Gardens. Singapore’s Botanic Gardens, are huge, gorgeous, and near where he was staying, but we had to go past my place in order to get there. So, I knew something was up! My heart was pounding, but I didn’t want to be disappointed if this wasn’t ‘it’, so I decided not to think about it, and off we went. As we waited for the bus, I got lost in our conversation and completely forgot about where we were going and what the reason for our late night excursion might be. When we got to our stop, I remembered, and asked if we could stop at his room to drop off our bags. We did, and as I came out of the bathroom, I noticed the bag he’d been carrying all day upside down on the bed with a trail of everything that had been in it dumped out onto the floor and along the bed. I almost called out to ask if he’d lost something, or had found what he was looking for, but suddenly remembered that I might not want the answer to that right then and there. So I kept my mouth shut, and off we went to the gardens.
We’d explored that Gardens a bit on Thursday, but there was lots we hadn’t seen. Coleman asked if I had a favourite place, so I took him to my favourite tree in the Gardens – this huge Kapok tree with roots higher than our heads. One of them makes a perfect ‘bench’, so we sat and talked. While we had said ‘I love you’, we’d been careful not to make it a promise – not to say ‘forever’ until we were ready to actually promise that. So when he told me that he would love me forever I started to cry. He got down on one knee, and pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him. My mother had made me promise that if/when he asked me that I a) wouldn’t interrupt him! and b) would breathe before saying anything. I didn’t interrupt him, tried to breathe, said ‘Yes’, and jumped into his arms and we hugged and kissed and laughed and cried and prayed. We wandered through the gardens in a blissful daze and eventually made our way to my parents’ flat, where we woke them up with the happy news! We then called Coleman’s parents and our families in Canada and the States. It was well past two when we finally fell asleep, and when I woke up the next morning, everything seemed a little fuzzy, dream-like. But his ring was still on my finger, and I knew it hadn’t been a dream.
That Friday evening and Saturday morning I spent praying, and by the time I left my room at IHQ Saturday morning, I knew that I was going to ask Anne to marry me, and I knew it was going to be that evening. There were only one problem. I wanted to ask Anne’s parents for their blessing, but I’d hardly had any time alone with them without Anne around – and I wasn’t sure how I could make that happen before that night.
As we were getting ready to leave for the ice rink, I caught a few seconds alone with Anne’s dad, Scott. I asked, “Is there some time today when I could talk to you and Beth alone? I have something I want to ask you.” He replied, “Sure.” And that was about all we had time for before Anne came back into the room.
We rented skates at the rink in the mall and skated for a couple hours. As we got back to the skate-changing area, Anne walked over to the counter – and Scott asked me, “So, is now a good time to ask that question?” I figured I might at well at least let him know what I was thinking of, so I said, “Well, sure – although I think we’ll have to talk about it later. I want to marry Anne, and I want to ask you for your blessing.” Beth had just walked up and missed what I said, so I said louder, “I want to marry Anne!” I suppose the setting was a little funny for the question, because when Anne walked back about fifteen seconds later we were all laughing. She frowned. “Were you laughing at me?” We all bit our tongues.
But there hadn’t been time to answer the question or talk about it, of course. So we went to the movie, headed back to the flat, and I STILL had no idea if and when I’d get a chance to talk to Scott and Beth alone. Finally, as we were getting ready to go, Anne decided to take a shower, and the three of us huddled in the kitchen. Beth just had one question for me: “Are you absolutely, 100% sure?” I let the question sink in, and then answered, with complete honesty, “Yes.” Beth replied, “Then you have my blessing.” Scott added, “And you have my blessing too.”
As we got to the barbecue that evening and it got later and later, I realized that asking to go the Botanic Gardens in the middle of the night was going to sound awfully strange. But that didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if she was a little suspicious – at least she didn’t know I’d brought a ring. When she suggested we drop off our bags at my room, though, I hesitated (I don’t think she noticed). Having the bags along meant there was no giveaway box-shaped bump in my pocket, and I’d been particularly pleased about that. Fortunately, when we got to the room she asked if I’d stick her cell phone in my pocket, so all my pockets were completely full anyway. I hadn’t been detected!
We walked across the street to the Botanic Garden, and I asked her to show me her very favourite spot in the gardens. Ever since she’d first told me about the gardens, I’d imagined us walking through them alone some evening, and as August had drawn closer, I‘d made up my mind that if I proposed to her, that’s where it would be. She told me about her favourite tree, the giant kapok tree, and she led me to it.
We got to the tree and sat down next to each other, and I started talking. I don’t remember the exact words – it was a bit of a blur even at the time – but I know exactly what I felt: that I was asking for something far more than I deserved, that I was in awe of her love for me, and that I would be so blessed if she would be my wife. And so, I told her that I would love her forever, and got down on my knee, and offered her the ring. And immediately she said yes. And we laughed and cried and hugged and kissed and prayed, and as we wandered through the gardens, we yelled out, “We’re getting married!” I had never been so happy in my life.
And the amazing thing is that the happiness has only grown, the excitement has only grown, the peace has only grown. The Lord has blessed us so much, so that we’re overflowing, and somehow He still manages to bless us more every day. We see so clearly His hand in our lives, and above all else, we are grateful to Him for everything He’s done for us. God is good!
We went back to the Gardens the next day and retraced our steps, with parental photographers in tow. You can check out some of the pictures here.