Last night I drove into the city to pick up my sister, Amber, and her boyfriend, Daniel, at the airport. They’ve just returned from Georgia, where they spent the week staying with our Mom and Dad and visiting all the extended family we have down there.
It was a chance for my parents to finally meet the guy who has turned Amber all moon-eyed and super shiny over the past several months. Not only that, but in a charming display of respect and tradition, Daniel asked my Dad for his blessing on his intention to ask Amber to marry him. Dad said yes, of course, but only after the required (and entertaining) interlude of good-natured ribbing to which Dad has subjected every aspiring suitor who has shown up on our doorstep since Amber and I were old enough to date.
I am thrilled.
Watching my sister fall in love over the weeks and months that she has known Daniel has been a source of deep satisfaction to me. I’ve seen her boyfriends come and go, but I have never seen her like this before. It’s been clear since the night they met that Daniel is someone extra special.
It was a late spring evening, and our church was hosting a community barbecue. Daniel was there as a guest, and Amber had just made a decision to extend herself beyond her comfort zone and talk to at least one new person at the cookout. Almost immediately, she spotted Daniel, took a deep breath, and went up to say hello. They ended up talking for half an hour. At one point, I elbowed Paul and motioned to the two of them standing next to the food table, grilled hamburgers half-eaten and forgotten in their hands. “Something’s happening over there,” I said with a grin. It turns out I was right.
He called her three days later, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A few weeks later, she came by to talk to me.
“So what do you think of Daniel?” she asked, trying to play it off as a casual question. I assured her that I thought he was great. The two of them had dropped by our place several times and we’d been enjoying getting to know him. The first time he came over, Caleb crawled up into his lap, fingered one of his dredlocks, and proclaimed, “I like your hair!” Daniel’s a great storyteller, and our conversations around the dinner table have been sprinkled with laughter and have covered everything from movies to world politics. Most of all, I’ve enjoyed seeing the glow in Amber’s eyes when Daniel reaches over to take her hand, and the easy way they relate to each other, as if they’ve known each other a lot longer than it seems, as if that first meeting was merely a recognition of someone they’d each been expecting for quite a while.
“Is there anything you don’t like about him?” she wanted to know. “No, not that I know of,” I answered. “Good,” she said with a smile, “but if there is, you had better tell me now, because I think I’m well on my way to smitten!”
I think smitten is putting it mildly.
Amber has always had a questing, restless spirit; she loves to travel and she takes in new experiences like food. Daniel’s mission work has taken him across the world, from his birthplace in Zimbabwe to China, where he worked with underground house churches, to the United States, where he has been involved in evangelism for a startup church. He has experienced amazing things, both good and bad: Christ’s love breaking down walls between classes and races amidst South African believers, government persecution in China, travel-related adventures that we can’t really conceive of in this land of bus schedules and good roads. Amber has a strong faith, and her conversations are thoroughly adorned with her passion for God. She loves to talk about Christ, and the gospel, and how the good news works in her life. So does Daniel. They are already united in their deepest beliefs, and I know that God will use the two of them together to bring His wonderful invitation to others, wherever they end up.
Anyway, the news is not official…yet. There’s still a ring to be bought, a proposal to be made, and an answer to be given. I expect it soon, though.
Paul suggested to Daniel that he should forego the ring altogether and propose with a carton of Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream instead. After all, I said yes.*
*What? I haven’t told you that story? Sounds like a tale for a future post…