15 years ago today, I made one of the best decisions of my life. Well, technically, the decision was made before that day, but the culmination of that decision happened on that day. On March 3, 2000, I asked my wife to marry me. My life has never been the same since, and for that, I am grateful.
Now, granted, I’ve made a whole lot of bad decisions in my life, but I’d like to think that some of my better decisions might counteract those bad decisions, and this is certainly one of those decisions that I’d like to think that about.
She was still in school at the University of Connecticut at the time, so I had conspired with her roommates. Although there were a number of people present, it was only her roommates and me who were in on the plan. It was not uncommon for us to have game nights with our friends. She wasn’t into the party scene by the time that she got to college, so hanging out with friends was a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Friday night. So, we planned it out that her sister, who was at the same school, and her brother, and a few other close friends would come over to the apartment on that Friday night.
I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do it all so I was talking to one of her roommates who informed me that she was expecting that music would be involved, in other words, she thought that I might sing her a song.
No pressure, right?
Forcing creativity is a bit intimidating, but I concocted the whole plan assuming that it would come at some point. We would be playing a game where I would make up a question and then sing a song that I had written. No problem at all, as long as I could actually get the song written.
I’m generally a planner, so this was all in place about a month or more before the date actually came. I would set aside time every week to work on the song in hopes that it would be finally ready by the time the date came.
But time ticked on. 4 weeks……..3 weeks………2 weeks………1 week…….
It came down to days before this whole thing was to take place and the well continued to be dry…..I mean, BONE DRY! Nothing would come. I couldn’t get anything written, I mean, nothing. It seemed that the harder I tried, the harder it became. At that point, I knew that I needed some diving intervention.
I wasn’t going to settle for using somebody else’s song, it just wasn’t “me” to do something like that. It seems fitting, in retrospect, that the place where I would generally do most of my writing was in the sanctuary of the little Baptist church where my dad served as pastor for nearly 40 years. I would spend many a late night in there, playing the piano or guitar, hoping that the “muse” would find me. I had a key and would come and go as I needed to and I wasn’t afraid of disturbing anyone but the church mice.
So, I prayed and prayed for something that would be acceptable….
And it finally came, on February 29, 2000, just three days before the planned date. Talk about cutting it close. At some point, in the wee hours of the morning, ideas began to flow and they kept coming until I was finally finished.
Over the next few days, I did what I could to polish things up. I practiced until my fingers ached to get it just right. Everything was in place.
At the last minute, things always get even more hectic. This was no exception. My wife’s sister decided she wasn’t so certain that she would be coming at the last minute. I told her that she really needed to be there, it was important, but I still never revealed the truth of what would be happening.
The day finally came, after coaxing and convincing, everyone was there, a few showed up a little late, but we were all there. We finally got around to the game and as we were going around playing, my brother-in-law nearly won the game right before my turn. Hadn’t thought of that possibility. My turn came and in the form of a question in the game, I asked my wife to marry me and told her that she needed to listen to a song that I had written.
When all was said and done, she said, “Yes.” We celebrated with our families the next day. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The other day, I found the notebook in which I had written the song. It’s always fascinating to watch the genesis of a song, especially one like this that meant so much to me. Good memories and I am grateful that I have a record of it all.
All along the way during the evening of the engagement, I had her roommates taking pictures to document the moment. I was so glad that we did that. Not long after we were engaged, my mom put together a collage of the pictures surrounding the words of the song that I had written for my wife. This is a picture of it. And in case you can’t read the words, here they are:
Your Love Makes Me by Jon Gibson
Your love makes me more than I dreamed of
More than I wished for or ever thought I could be.
Your love makes me more than I could ever imagine
Your love is setting me free.
I always knew that God’s promise was true
When He said He’d provide all that I need.
But I never dreamed I could find such a love
That come straight from a story you’d read.
There was a day when I looked at you
And I saw a girl, no more than a friend.
Then something changed, how I looked, how I felt,
And I knew I’d found a love with no end.
In your eyes lie the answers to questions
I ask of myself about who I should be.
You’re always there with the words
That can show me all of the things I can’t see.
A gentle touch or a warm embrace
Can change stormy skies from gray to bright blue.
Nothing could replace or compare to the love
That I am sharing with you.
When the seasons grow cold
And the storms cloud our way
When we can’t find the words
Or the right things to say
I will be there for you
I’ll show you my love by the things that I do
‘Cause your love is making me into all I can be.
When I open my eyes to the sunset
And see all the beauty of God’s mighty hand
I realize that the gift I’ve been giv’n
Is a woman intended to complete this man.
I see in you the true reflection of the One
Who once died to make us His own.
I stop and think what the world might be like
If I had to face it alone.
Funny to look back at those words 15 years later. Some of them make me cringe at the “cheesy” factor while others seem as appropriate today as they were back then.
Today I am grateful for that day and the outcome of it. I’m glad that it turned out the way that it did and I’m looking forward to celebrating this day again and again, along with all of the other days that we can share together.
I love you, Carrie!