Elvis was the first ingredient for those of you who hadn't figured that part out.
The location was the next hurdle, but once the Lord placed it on my heart, I KNEW that it was perfect. The airport. Sharma hasn't been traveling/flying for work for a little over a year. We both knew however, that slowly the "fun times at BNA" would begin again. Airports can be so frustrating. So aggravating. So stressful. I wanted Sharma to have a good memory that she can think about when the crowds, the oblivious airport "wanderers" start to raise her stress levels.
I had my second ingredient.
The last piece was going to be a little tricky; how do I get Sharma, Elvis, and the Ring to the airport? It would take precision timing and skill, like that of synchronized water ballet. I knew that it was the last place she wanted to go even when she needed to, let alone when she didn't have to. I had to get creative.
I told her that one of my best friends from my teen years Mark O'Mally was flying into Nashville and I really wanted us to be there when he lands. I tried to "talk it up" several days leading up to it (I will tell you what day all of this happened a little later).
In the meantime, I'm having to gain permission from BNA to pull this off. I was also coordinating with Chuck aka Elvis, to make sure he knew exactly where to be and at what time, because the timing had to be spot on. I also sent him pictures of what we were wearing so there was no confusion. Did I mention I was losing sleep over this?
The day came. The moment had arrived. I had had the ring for a couple of weeks hidden in the house. I could almost see Sharma, like everyone of us growing up did after the cookies and milk were set out. Sliding out of bed, tip toeing down the stairs, hoping to catch a glimpse of the big man in the red suit, except she wasn't looking for Barbie dolls and campers or Santa, but looking for IT. The ring.
I tried my best to appear calm, just another day in the neighborhood. Everything was in place. BNA security and staff knew we were coming and what we were doing and Elvis knew when and where he had to be. Perfect.
Well, almost. Enroute to BNA Elvis sent me a text saying he was stuck in traffic and would be 15 minutes late. Panic mode.
Not to mention once we got there, Sharma informed me that she had no intention of going in. She suggested that she drive around and would pick Mark and I up, so we wouldn't have to pay for parking. Panic mode + "deer in headlight" expression.
"NO. NO Honey. I told Mark we would both be there." Not the best rebuttal but it worked.
I did everything I could to walk slower, pretending to check my phone to see if Mark had sent a text. What I was actually doing was getting updates from Elvis, until he stopped responding.
Panic mode + "deer in headlight" expression + nausea = complete meltdown.
You know the arrival and departure monitors every airport has scattered throughout? Well, my beautiful, smart, logical Sharma stopped, looked at the monitor and said "Honey, I don't see a delta flight arriving at 4:30 PM from Cincinnati." I hadn't thought of that.
My legs refused to cooperate. My brain flatlined and all I could do was to make a sound that is best described as part grunt, part mumble. part whimper. Everything was falling apart. This wasn't going to work. Why did I pick the airport? Sharma is going to HATE this. I'm blowing it.
But then a peace came over me and I remembered that every part of this proposal had been given to me. The Lord had taken care of every detail up till this point, He wasn't about to withdrawal His mighty, loving hand now.
Everything worked out and could not have been any better, or any more special. Here is the play-by-play;
The reason Elvis wasn't responding to my frantic text messages, (which I was sending whilst hiding in the airport restroom, around the corner from where I temporarily left Sharma standing "looking for Mark"), was because he was already there, at the airport, TALKING TO SHARMA.
I slowly walked up to where they were and Sharma turned to me and with genuine excitement said "look who it is honey." I politely smiled and nodded. I might have responded, I literally can't be one hundred percent sure. Time has a funny way of morphing and distorting in extreme situations.
Elvis then tells Sharma that he was there for her. That I had asked him to sing to her as a birthday gift. I again smiled and might have mumbled something but at this point, I knew what was really getting ready to happen and I felt the Panic mode + "deer in headlight" expression + nausea = complete meltdown coming on again.
Chuck aka Elvis starts singing the song I specifically requested "Can't Help Falling In Love" People start gathering around and Sharma whips her phone up and starts recording. At THIS moment, its just her and Elvis. This lovely, sweet, caring, amazing, woman did not look back at me once. Not once. I could have been hit and run over by one of those indoor airport trams you see shuttling people to fro, and Elvis would remain in perfect focus.
One of the details I hadn't ironed out with Elvis, was how much of "Can't Help Falling In Love" he was going to sing. Minor detail right?
I decided to play it safe. I slowly started walking back away from where Sharma was standing, camera fixed on swivel hips.
By the time he finished, and Sharma came down from the clouds and turned to see where I had gone, there I was. On one knee. Ring extended.
Since I didn't know when he was going to stop exactly, I got down on one knee about halfway through. By the time I had to stand, my leg had fallen asleep.
BUT IT WAS PERFECT.
When the love of my life looked at me and said "yes", everything that I thought should have happened or would have liked to have happened, none of that mattered. I was equally elated and humbled.
Reality slowly started coming into focus and we saw travelers, clapping. Taking photos. With Elvis. It was a beautiful moment. Everything was as it should be.
Oh, and as for the day? It was April 2, Sharma's birthday. Good Friday. And it was a very Good Friday indeed. This man, so undeserving, who has received God's limitless gifts of grace, mercy, forgiveness, was given another priceless gift - the heart, love, friendship of the most amazing woman in the world.
Sharma, I love you.