I stared at my hand with the new ring and peeled at the brown paper sleeve on my coffee cup, sitting as far away as I could get from the other coffee shop occupants.
Always aware of the weight of apathy towards bubbly romantic bliss, I turned my engagement ring around to the inside of my hand and kept peeling at the sleeve on my coffee.
Feeling guilty for being happy, because I've been the girl on the other side. I've been the girl with the secret disappointment because it's still not her. And I'm aware of the girls that are disgusted because there was a shiny ring once, and it didn't turn out like they said it would. And the girls that don't know what they want, and the ones that have been let down one too many times.
And the ones that are just mostly indifferent.
Surely, two rosy-cheeked people won't always be as happy as they are in these 79 engagement pictures.
Somewhere in the quiet of our souls we have a profound expectation that humanity will let down humanity.
And it's Christmas, the season of engagement. And you're more likely to write a sappy post about your reindeer socks than marital bliss. I know you. I hear you. I see you. I've been you.
But look closer. Click through those photos of a proposal.
While life is happening: work emails and dish loads and runs to Kroger for more ground beef and late fees and Christmas lights in the rain and parties where they convince you to try the eggnog... someone says to another,
"I will put my life on hold so our plans together can be the new plans."
In the middle of wrapping and baking and elves on the shelves, with Bing on the radio for the 11th time today, someone bends low and says,
"I will take on your burdens. I will carry them. I will carry you sometimes. Our relationship is more important to me than my own life."
And then I know.
Because I can't stare at a candle without seeing the light and feeling the warmth of revelation in a chapped soul. He came. He changed his plans. He lowered his knees to the earth and received burdens. He gave up freedom. He gave up certainty. Because it was worth it. Because I was worth it. You are worth it.
And the little brown rolls of peeled coffee sleeve paper tumble off the table when the door of the shop opens and a cold breeze hits my cheek. I turn my ring back around because it whispers a reminder into a weary world, and to me:
hope took a knee and he has a name. Emmanuel.