There once was a farmer who prayed for rain, but didn’t plant any crops. The rains came, because God is faithful – but the farmer missed out on the harvest because he didn’t expect the rain to come.
If you pray for rain, you better start carrying an umbrella. David says Rachel is the rain he had been praying for.
We both try to go to Mass every day, to grow in our own relationships with God. As we walk out, we send each other our daily ‘nugget’ – a tweet-length takeaway from the homily, readings, or prayers.
This practice has helped us keep our faith at the center of our relationship and grow closer to God as a couple.
The last place we went at the end of David’s first visit to STL, and an essential stop every time he comes in town. This beautiful and peaceful adoration chapel is open to the public every day.
Sitting together in the quiet, with Jesus, is a highlight of every visit and a weekly tradition we plan to uphold.
How it all went down
The first thing you need to know is that David had been setting Rachel up for this surprise for months. He’d assured her that the custom ring he’d been working on wouldn’t be ready until February at the earliest, maybe mid-January if we were lucky. He’d been training her to expect gifts upon arrival, having greeted her with little presents every visit since August. He’d even gotten her a cheap umbrella necklace, just to see if she’d wear it or not. And he’d told her that there were at least eleven Christmas presents coming her way…
Rachel had sighed over the possibility of a February engagement, thinking that it would be so much nicer to get engaged over the scheduled week-long visit at the end of December – if only to have all that time together before David needed to head home to Atlanta. She filled their week with plans, with family and friends, and David insisted on at least one date night. So Monday night, the 29th of December, it was.
Date night started at Carmelite Monastery. As soon as they walked in the door, David ‘had to use the restroom’ (a.k.a. go back out to the car to get things), and sent Rachel in ahead. After a few minutes, he came back in, and together they knelt, then sat, and prayed. There had been about 10 other people in the chapel, and suddenly, they all left (perhaps Jesus told them David needed the room?). Realizing that they were now alone in the chapel, David figured that this was the time.
He turned to her and whispered, “Remember how I said there were eleven Christmas presents? I wasn’t lying.” He handed her a stack of pocket-size notebooks, in which he had hand-written every single Mass nugget since they’d started exchanging them in June (at this point, tears started forming in Rachel’s eyes). And then he pulled out a bracelet box (real tears fell now; because women are classically conditioned to cry at jewelry boxes), inside which was a white gold bracelet with a ruby raindrop and a tiny umbrella charm.
“Now,” he said, “it might be hard to see in here, but there’s an engraving on the umbrella.” Rachel turned the charm over, and it was too small to see in the dimly lit chapel. “I thought that might happen,” David said, “so I also got you this.” He pulled out another pocket-size notebook, with an umbrella printed on the cover, along with the initials RAL.
[Rachel’s mind, at the moment, was mass confusion – because RAL will be her married initials. She was totally convinced they weren’t getting engaged until February – and a girl can’t wear a bracelet with her married initials on it when she isn’t even engaged yet!]
And then she looked up from the notebook and he was on one knee, holding a ring. “Is this for real?!” she exclaimed, and he laughed, and said, “Of course, I promised you I would never fake-propose.” (At this point, tears are flowing freely down Rachel’s cheeks and her jaw is wide open… didn’t see it coming at all.)
“I was going to wait a few days to do this, but I thought we could RING in the New Year a few days early,” he began (because this whole thing started with puns, remember?). And then he told her that she is the best gift he’s ever been given, his favorite human, and the only person he’d want to chase after heaven with. She said yes before he’d even finished asking. They stayed for a few more minutes to pray, then went to dinner – where her whole family was waiting.
The Meaning Behind the Ring
It’s obvious this isn’t your typical engagement ring. When David asked Rachel what kind of ring she’d want, she simply said that she liked vintage rings, and didn’t want anything like what everyone else has.
Vintage rings were often made with rubies and white gold – white gold without the rhodium plating, which causes the ring to yellow over time. With these materials in mind and a gifted custom jeweler, David put this design together.
The red of the rubies symbolizes the Blood of Christ, and the circle around them the Body – since the Eucharist is at the heart of their relationship. The three rubies represent the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are two small diamonds on one side, representing David and Rachel, and one more diamond on the other side, representing God – because the husband, wife, and God must work together for a marriage to be a success. That minor trinity gets swept up into the major Trinity when the couple seeks the Lord with their lives.
And the branches on the band have a dual meaning. They look a bit like the crown of thorns – every marriage requires sacrifice. And they also represent the Matt Maher/Audrey Assad song, “Garden” – a song that has been God’s promise to Rachel, for many years, that she would be married one day. It will also be the processional song, for her and her bridesmaids, on August 15th.