In the spring of 1989 I climbed in my car and made the trip alone to Grace, Idaho. I had made an appointment to meet with Ann’s parents to discuss my intention to marry their daughter.
Much to my chagrin, they asked me to dinner. I would have preferred a quick in-and-out kind of thing.
It seemed like all through dinner we talked about everything BUT a possible marriage to Ann. Who knew that we could spend so long talking about nothing?
At the time I really didn’t like to eat ice cream because it was so cold and made my teeth hurt. We laugh about it now, but you can imagine my discomfort when Ann’s dad came out with a bowl filled with what had to be a quart of ice cream.
I waited for him to divide it up between the three of us, only to be horrified to see him return with two identical bowls, each filled with the same amount.
The huge bowl was my responsibility to make disappear.
This was going to be worse than I thought.
Of course, it was over this mountain of ice cream I was trying to slide inconspicuously past my screaming teeth that Ernie Garrett decided it was time to talk about his daughter Ann.
I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time, but he asked me some pretty pointed questions, not about me, but about what I had seen and learned about Ann.
He became teary as he tried to convey a father’s impressions of a young woman who clearly was cut from a different cloth.
He knew that she was special, yet special was still an inadequate descriptor.
Exceptional is getting closer.
As Ann and I now, 26 years later, pray for our as-yet unidentified future son and daughter-in-law I find that this particular memory has more meaning now.
Please don’t misunderstand, Ann and I are not praying for the weddings to come quickly. We are praying that our Heavenly Father has the two clearly in His vision and under His protection and that they are living lives as valiant and virtuous as we know Alex and Nick have chosen to live.
I see that same earnest expression in Ann’s face as I did that day long ago while sitting at her parent’s dining table.
She simply yet emphatically says “I just want him to SEE Alex for who she really is, to understand just how incredible a person he is marrying.”
The same standard applies to her baby boy and the spitfire he will need to keep him in line as he flies farther than we will ever imagine.
This is what Ernie was trying to get me to understand: did I really SEE Ann?
The truth is that at the time, no, I didn’t.
Honestly there is just too much magnificence to have comprehended all at once.
It’s been a privilege. A privilege I hope to have for eternity.
I anxiously await the time that I can return and report to my father-in-law. He gave me the solemn assignment to discover what he already knew.
I’ll be able to stand tall and reply “Yes Ernie, I SEE her.”
Now I really SEE her.
Not only Ann, but after a lifetime of looking, I SEE Alex and Nick. The day will come when Ann and I sit at our kitchen table and make those who will enlarge our family squirm.
It certainly won’t be a quick in-and-out experience.
We need time to watch faces, feel emotions, and trust that someone could possibly love them as much as we do.
Together we will ask, “Do you SEE who you are LOOKING at? They are more magnificent than you can comprehend.”
Perhaps the thing that matters most is if they are willing to keep LOOKING.
LOOKING takes intense focus and discipline. SEEING comes after losing ourselves in the happiness of the one we are LOOKING at.
May you be blessed to really SEE those you love.
If you aren’t quite there yet, it may be time to refocus on just where you are LOOKING.