I'm writing from the hotel (now owned by a motel chain) that has become our home away from home whenever we visit our daughter Kim near Chicago's "Magnificent Mile."
Come back later and this post will attempt to do justice to an event that happened last night, a well-planned happening that prompted magnificent smiles and even some happy tears. Magnificent guy! Magnificent news!
Like the story that has occupied these posts for months, this news also involves water and rock--a very precious rock on a precious hand. I know what you're thinking: "Tom, if this is what I think it is--what in the world were YOU doing there?" Good question, and the answer is part of why it was such a magnificent event.
No time to write about it now, but I will as time allows.
Okay. I'm back. Last night we got home from Chicago, and I have a few minutes to fill in some details on the magnificant news of Nate and Kim's engagement.
Kim is a senior in college. This summer she stayed in Chicago to nanny for a family who attends Latin School, where she works during the school year. Her boyfriend Nate attends the same college and also works in the city.
On August 2nd we were camping on the shore of Lake Michigan (about 90+ nautical miles from the photo above). We were sitting around a campfire when Nate called on my cellphone and asked if he could drive up from Chicago to visit with me about something. He stressed that Kim should not know he was coming up.
The next day, August 3rd, he drove up alone to meet me at the Starbucks in Grand Haven where we had a long talk. Actually, I mostly listened to his well-planned thoughts that culminated in his declaration of love, commitment, and request to marry my daughter. I assured him of my wife's and my permission and blessing, and then we had a long and pleasant talk about related things before joining the rest of my family (except Kim) for dinner at one of our favorite places nearby. It was great, and best of all, we managed to keep it all a secret from Kim (who called more than once while we were together).
About ten days later, Nate called again from Chicago asking if we could come down secretly on Friday to wait for them in Promontory Point Park along Lake Michigan (first photo above). It is a beautiful picnic setting with large limestone fire pits overlooking the lake.
We brought fire wood and all the goodies to enjoy it. Nate's plan was to propose to Kim at another park along the Chicago River where they have had many significant moments in the past, and then to bring her to our location. She of course thought we were home in Michigan so it was a great surprise that went without a hitch.
That second photo is them arriving shortly after six o'clock. After Nate had proposed and given her the beautiful ring. There was one minor glitch. After Kim said "Yes" she of course began calling family and friends. One of the first calls was to Nate's parents who are missionaries in Guatemala, nearly 2,000 miles away. That call went through fine. We knew Kim would also try to call us (on Julie's cell). That call was going to be my cue to light the fire. Unfortunately, our phones that were only a few miles away had no reception out on the point, so I never got my cue. When I saw them coming down the walkway, I began looking for the lighter. Never did find the lighter, but fortunately there was a nice homeless guy just down the lake a ways who had a lighter he was happy to loan me. I got the fire started, and after that the evening went perfectly as Nate had planned.
It was a great evening of celebration with friends (who later joined us for a cook-out). There is much more I could say all of this... about how happy Kim's two sisters are for her... about how happy Julie and I are for them...about how the fun will continue when Nate's mom flies in to visit over Labor Day... about how much we appreciate the way Nate included us from that first phone call while we sat around a campfire on the west shore of Lake Michigan to that second campfire on the east side of the lake...
But the thing we are most happy about is this young couple's commitment to begin thinking of life in terms of their future together; to see the path God has for them as shared; and to honor each other as they begin making the plans to walk that path together.
Of course, it doesn't hurt at all to see that Nate brings to Kim the very same squinty-eyed smile we have loved since she was a child.