I spent years dreaming of the perfect proposal. My favourite consisted of me walking through the hauntingly beautiful woods with my soon-to-be fiancé – he, leading me down a pathway of candles (you don’t worry about fire hazards when your planning your dream proposal) and I, walking gracefully with a look of wonder and anticipation… with my hair billowing behind me.
He would stop me at the end of the path, reach into the opening of a hollowed tree, out of which he would produce a small box, open it, kneel and well, you can probably guess the rest.
It didn’t end up happening that way. Not even close.
My beloved brought me into a small garage that had been transformed into a sort-of rec room. He turned to me and said,
“I love you, but…”
I panicked. Oh my gosh! He’s breaking up with me. Wait.
In a garage?
I saw him pulling out a small box and getting ready to kneel down. My heart leapt. OH MY GOSH! HE’S PROPOSING!!! Wait. In a garage?
He continued, “I love you, but… I could never love you the way Jesus loves you, but I want to spend the rest of my life trying. Will you marry me?”
I accepted. How could I not? I knew without a doubt that he was the one with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life and his words were beautiful. Filled with wisdom I had yet to fully comprehend.
At first, it bothered me that I didn’t get the romantic location and proposal I had dreamt about, but I soon realised how perfect it was, how authentic, how humble and how true to the nature of love. I had been guilty of romanticising true love. I wanted a man who would stand beside me, as the wind blew my (still) billowing hair, his hands easily fitting around my tiny waist. Sadly, I couldn’t find a man with big enough hands.
Instead, I found a man whose hands fit perfectly around our wrapped infants, who stands beside me during the storms of life and true to the words on the day he proposed, tries to love me as Christ loves me – daily laying down his life for me. He has been a reflection of Our Lord laying down His life for his bride, the Church.
At Christmastime, I’m caught by the beauty of the nativity. I could imagine everyone present marvelling at the magnitude of the gift of Christ to the world. How awesome. Beyond all joyful imaginings. Wait. In a stable?
I am overwhelmed with gratitude reflecting on the wondrous love that is brought forth from the humblest of beginnings.
Carissa Douglas is a homeschooling mother of eight children aged 11 years and under with twins on the way. She is a Catholic speaker as well as the author and illustrator of a Catholic children’s book series, Little Douglings. In her spare time… hahaha, what spare time?