Engaging in Prayer
In our journey with God as we try to discern His will for our lives, I find it comforting when we receive concrete affirmations of the path we are on. Oftentimes, we think of divine intervention happening in major events like some miraculous cure from cancer or finally conceiving a long-awaited child. But I have come to appreciate God’s intervention even in everyday things as I pray for them. After all, He is the Father who has our names written in the palm of His hand and counts even the hairs on our head!
The story of how Megan and I selected the engagement ring was a concrete reminder of how intimately God cares for us and just another confirmation for me that we were on the right path.
When the time came for me to buy a ring for Megan, I realized I knew almost nothing about buying jewelry, besides the silly ads they play ad nauseam during football games. After consulting some friends and discussing it with Megan, I decided to take her ring shopping to get a sense of what she would like. I wanted her opinion even though I would ultimately choose the ring for her and hope to pleasantly surprise her with it sometime soon. I chose a jewelry store based on a friend’s recommendation, and Megan and I went together for the start of this new adventure.
After some preliminary research and lessons from the salesman, we spent some time considering different options. We wanted to work in some stones from Megan’s grandmother’s ring, generously given to us by Megan’s mom. At the end of that visit, the salesman gave us an online resource to help us make selections for a ring we would like.
Due to various scheduling conflicts, a couple weeks went by before I had time to get back to the store. Megan and I had individually perused the online resource, but we kept putting off discussing it together. I was finally able to sit her down to make some selections the night before I was hoping to place an order, unbeknownst to her. We went through several options and she pointed out various elements she liked. I took several pictures of settings and band engravings that captured her eye. After getting a firm idea of what she liked, I felt I had everything I needed to find a ring she’d be really happy with.
I snuck off to the store the next morning. I had Megan’s preferences in mind with pictures in my phone, grandma’s stones in my hand, and enough money in the bank to place an order. All systems were “go!”…or so I thought. It turned out that some of the choices Megan and I had made were not available for the specific arrangement and type of stones we wanted to use. When we had sat down the evening before, we hadn’t taken any of this into account. We didn’t really know what we were doing the night before when I wrote down our game plan, but now I was in the game and having to call a bunch of audibles, without any of the plays we had discussed! My bubble began to deflate and any confidence I had of getting the perfect ring for Megan was quickly diminishing.
With the stones we wanted, the salesman said I really only had one good setting option, so I went with it. And then when I asked about the engravings that Megan liked, he shared some of his qualms about them and urged that I let her pick one out after I gave her the ring. By this point, my bubble was completely burst. I was looking at a much simpler ring than Megan had envisioned. I felt so dejected thinking of Megan’s disappointment if I asked her to marry me with this ring rather than one she wanted.
My gears were already turning to come up with some way to break the news to her before I presented the ring in the form of a proposal. I dreaded the thought of having to add a disclaimer before popping the big question. With the lack of options and lack of time, I trusted that God would help me sort it all out and I placed the order that morning.
I drove home with my tail between my legs, desperately hoping to figure something out to remedy the situation. My biggest fear was not that Megan would reject my proposal because of the ring, but rather that I would have sorely disappointed her with something she didn’t like, as if I hadn’t paid any attention to her preferences. I knew Megan would accept whatever ring I chose for her, but I really wanted it to be something that was special for her and made her proud to wear.
I turned to whom I always hope to turn in any situation – our Lord, our Blessed Mother, and our friends in heaven. I had prayed a rosary driving to the store and I prayed a lot more on the way back. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to get an answer, although it wasn’t in the way I had expected.
Later that afternoon, Megan shared with me some of her reflections about the ring from prayer that morning, although I hadn’t mentioned going to the jewelry store or purchasing a ring. She explained to me how, after more reflection, she realized that the rings she pointed out the night before were beautiful and very elegant, but they weren’t really for her. She couldn’t see herself wearing them. Then she began describing how she would like something simpler and proceeded to pull up some pictures online of the kind of ring she would like for herself.
Internally, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it. I was looking at the exact ring I had just ordered! My heart began to sing praises to God, while I tried to maintain my best poker face. She asked, “Should I email you the picture?” I stammered a reply, “Oh, yeah, sure! That would be good,” as I tried to play off my excitement. I never even opened the email or viewed that picture again. God had spoken. The case was closed. Blessed be the name of the Lord!