It was Jess’s birthday and little did she know that I would surprise her with an engagement ring later that night…
After church, we drove down to La Jolla, where I had made reservations at the Marine Room, voted San Diego’s “most romantic restaurant.” Although it was here that we experienced the worst part of our night, as Jess described, we now think back and laugh.
La Jolla has beautiful beaches and I knew that it was there I wanted to propose—I just wasn’t sure where exactly. As we cruised along the scenic route, Jess was enjoying a gorgeous sky and ocean views while I was desperately trying to scope out the prospective proposal terrain. “God, please show me the perfect location,” I prayed. I knew that when I saw it, I would know (just like when I saw Jess!)When we came to the end of the coast, I was inwardly disappointed and said that because we had some time to kill, we should drive up the road to see if there was any sort of lookout. Not long after the many aimless U-turns, we spotted a sign for Mt. Soledad Park. As we turned in and followed the road up, suddenly we found ourselves on top of the world! With breathtaking views of ocean cliffs along the coastline on one side, and downtown San Diego on the other, this was it. The day was crystal clear.
After dinner, I asked Jess if she wanted to go back up to the park and look at the city lights, so we headed back up the narrow, windy streets. We parked, and I grabbed some blankets and a back pack from the truck, as well as my guitar—all still a surprise to her.
Earlier, I saw a spot that I knew would work for “the big question.” It was a grassy clearing off the beaten path, overlooking the city lights. We spread out the blankets, and I took out a pot, put it on my camp stove, and filled it with water. Then, while the water was heating on the stove I told Jess that I wrote her a song and wanted to play it for her. (Surprisingly, it went off without a mistake, despite the fact that I had only finished writing the last chorus just minutes before we left the house! Ack, nerve racking!) Needless to say, she was touched; but I was just getting started!
By the time I finished singing “Jess’ Song,” the water was warm. So I poured it into a basin, and unlaced her boots. As Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to symbolize servanthood, I said that in the same way, I desire to serve her with my life. Nonchalantly, I had slipped the ring into my back pocket, and while I was still down on my knees, I took her hand and said, “You are so much more than I have ever wanted and could even dream of. My heart cannot live another day without you. Jessica Faith Minnema, I beg you to marry me.”
At first Jess was speechless, and I wondered why she was staring at me, and not the ring I was holding in front of her. Then she threw herself into my arms, and we hugged and kissed and cried. Finally, as if she suddenly remembered that there was a diamond ring involved, she gave me her hand and I placed her engagement band on her finger!