“You don’t even know him, Elaine!” Mom spoke first.
I exhaled slowly and leaned forward in my chair. “Mom, Dad, please, hear me out. I know you’re concerned, but Jack is an amazing man, and I do think I know him pretty well.” My entire body was poised and tense, ready for combat.
“Oh, Lainey. I love you and want you to be happy, but you’ve only met him… what, two times? And now you’re getting engaged? I’m sorry, sweetie, but you’d have to know we’d object to this.” Dad struggled to stay calm, but I could see the vein pulsing in his forehead.
“I met him in person eight months ago, and we’ve been emailing every day since. We talk on the phone several times a week. Even though we’re apart, I spend more time in his company than anyone else’s. When I saw him last month, we both knew we were in love.”
“What do you know about love?” Mom blurted, then composed herself. “I want you to be happy too, honey, but you are only twenty-two. What’s the rush?”
I had seen this one coming. “Jack wants to be my husband, and I want to be his wife. I’ve never felt such a connection with anyone before. We want to be together. And neither of us wants to make a major life move without a commitment. Plus,” I hurried to add, “didn’t you teach me it wasn’t right to live together? We couldn’t afford separate housing if we moved, so we want to do things right.” I smiled, knowing they couldn’t object to us not wanting to live in sin.
“Oh, Elaine,” Mom sighed. “This just isn’t right. It’s too soon, and I can’t imagine you moving across the country, away from your friends and family.”
I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. “But that’s the best part, Mom! He’s willing to move here. He already checked, and his boss said they could transfer him here. Isn’t that wonderful?” My giddiness released, I could no longer hold it back. “Can’t you see how happy he makes me? I love Jack!” I declared. “Believe me, I do know what I’m doing, you’ll see.”
“I believe you,” Dad said quietly.
“What?!” Mom shrieked, whipping her head around to glare at Dad.
“I believe her, Linda,” Dad told her. “I think she does know Jack, and she knows what she wants. Lainey’s a big girl, and we’ve raised her well. She doesn’t make rash decisions, and she’s proven to us that she listens to what God lays on her heart.” He turned to address me now. “If you love him and feel God is telling you this is right, then I support you.”
“Dan, this is insane,” Mom sputtered. “You can’t possibly agree with this.” Her hands were shaking and her bottom lip started to tremble. “I just want what’s best for my daughter,” she whispered.
Dad reached across the table and took both our hands. “It’s time I told you both a story. It’s about your grandmother,” he said, looking at me. He turned to Mom. “I don’t think you’ve ever heard the whole thing,” he explained at her quizzical look.
“When your grandmother met Grandpa, she was only nineteen,” he began. “Yes, they’d gone to high school together,” he said as Mom opened her mouth to speak, “but Grandpa had been a senior when Grandma was a freshman, so they hadn’t really known each other.” He squeezed my hand and continued, “A friend reintroduced them when Grandma was nineteen, and Grandpa was headed off to war. They only had one date before Grandpa left, but they wrote every day for the eighteen months he was gone. In all that time, they didn’t see each other or talk to each other, but only corresponded through letters. Grandpa sent a ring in the mail to propose, and Grandma sent a picture of herself wearing the ring and smiling as her response.”
“But Dan, those were different times!” Mom insisted.
“True, Linda, that is very true,” Dad agreed. “But I’ll never forget what my mom told me about why she said yes – ‘Our soul is the part of us which thinks and loves and hopes. If you write what your soul thinks, it becomes visible, and the words become its body.*** Your father wrote his soul to me, and I to him. That’s how I knew.’”
***Based on a quote by Helen Keller in 1891 (age 11).
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