Heather looked so distraught, chewing a fingernail and blinking back tears. “What should I do, Shelby?” she moaned.
I tried not to laugh, but it came bubbling out like an unstoppable geyser. The more I tried not to, the harder I laughed.
“Stop laughing, Shelby! This isn’t funny!”
“Really, Heather! How could you accept three marriage proposals in two weeks?” I managed to choke out.
Heather threw her hands over her face and groaned.
Beautiful, talented, and vivacious Heather has been my best friend since first grade. Me - I’m the quiet, plain one.
She’s always been daddy’s little darling. He’d been a lounge singer in Las Vegas, and they’d moved to Hollywood because he hoped to make it as an actor. Sadly, that never happened.
From the time she was a toddler, Heather’s doting parents entered her into all sorts of beauty pageants. Hollywood was no different for her. She continued to enter and win pageants. I always tagged along and shared in her victories. You’d think I would’ve been jealous, but Heather’s so loving and kind, I was just happy to be her friend.
Her parents divorced when we were seniors in high school. She'd always been closer to her dad and chose to live with him. Her mom and brother moved back to Vegas.
Heather took her parents’ divorce really hard. Usually happy and carefree, she became withdrawn and moody. I stuck with her, though. That’s what friends do.
Things improved when a friend invited us to a revival meeting. If anyone needed reviving, it was Heather. I never imagined how asking Jesus into your heart could change a person so dramatically.
Heather threw herself into Christianity with dedicated enthusiasm. The transformation wasn’t just inside. She radiated pure beauty. She entered more pageants, using it as a platform to share her faith, back when sharing your faith was an asset, not a liability.
She also traveled a lot, speaking to Christian groups. She won Miss California one year, and that opened more doors. She made appearances on Christian television and other talk shows. Everyone loved her.
We were both twenty-three when I got engaged. As we planned my wedding, Heather began to long for marriage and a family, too.
“It’s just so hard to have a relationship because I travel so much,” she lamented to me.
“Heather, let’s pray about it. Serious prayers! If it’s what you want, God will make it happen. You date plenty of guys. Maybe it’s someone you know already.”
Heather dove into prayers for a husband with zeal, expecting God to answer. It’s her child-like faith that got her into this predicament.
“You know Barry, the cameraman from that Christian television station I appear on all the time? We’ve gone out a lot. He’s sweet, handsome and loves Jesus. So when he said he loves me and proposed, I just thought this must be God answering my prayers. I said yes.” Heather sniffled, wiping her puffy eyes.
“Um,” was all I could say. I’d quit laughing. “And?”
“Well, I thought, prayed and decided I’m not in love with Barry. I was so confused, so I prayed and prayed, asking God to show me what to do. Remember Michael, the judge in the Miss California pageant? The one with Hollywood connections? We go out a lot. He’s always sending cards and flowers. So he calls saying he just had to see me.”
“And he proposed?” I asked, knowing the answer.
“Yes.” Heather was still sniffling. “I thought it was God’s answer to the other proposal. I told Michael yes, and decided to call Barry. But the more I thought about it, I wasn’t happy about either proposal. I mean…they’re both nice guys, but it just doesn’t feel right.”
“Heather, Heather,” I mumbled. “And the third guy?”
For the first time, Heather grinned. She whispered the name of a well known Christian music artist, (who’ll remain nameless out of respect for him). They’d done lots of events together.
I couldn’t help it. I squealed! “You’re kidding? No way! You said yes, didn’t you?”
“Uh-huh, but I haven’t broken it off with the other two. Now I’m more confused than ever. Oh, Shelby, what’ll I do?”
That was fifteen years ago? Heather and I are both happily married and have kids. Who’d she marry? None of those three. Each accepted her break-off graciously, although Michael, the pageant judge, cursed a little.
Heather married Tyler, the guy that invited us to the revival years ago.
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