Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Story - Part VIII

Before the girls were home from their week-long southern adventure a letter addressed to Lance Willeke was on its way to Medina, Ohio. As clearly, and respectfully as he could, Daniel had penned to Ashlee’s father his admiration for the eldest Willeke daughter. He briefly described the character qualities that he found most impressive. Without apology he admitted a keener interest in her than he had ever experienced for any woman before in his life, and assured him that over the course of the last four months (for his emotions had been sparked during their first conversation, and only had grown and strengthened through their friendship) he had tested the validity of those emotions through prayer and thoughtful consideration. With dignity he requested permission to begin a courtship, in the time Mr. Willeke thought best.

The letter was meant to be a secret, even its envelope was to be unseen, by her eyes especially. But she saw it. She wondered why a letter that thick could be addressed to her father, but in her mind it was far too soon for anything serious to come of their friendship. Her weekend with him had shown her that nothing would come of it—hadn’t it?? Nevertheless she asked him about it, and he cleverly covered the true contents of the letter with a story about a thank you note, expressing gratitude to her father for allowing her and her sister to visit Florida. It was not a lie… He had thanked him for that—but only in the first paragraph.

So while Daniel waited anxiously to receive a response from her father, she nearly forgot about the letter and its unknown contents, until a little over a week later Mrs. Willeke called her daughter at work and said that she and her father were going to take her to dinner, just her. Though it was unsaid, somehow she knew the purpose was to discuss that letter.

Initially, she was excited, planned her dinner, and smiled as her appetite grew and grew. But when five o’clock rolled around she began to get a little nervous. This anxiety only heightened when her dad came to pick her up and his cell phone rang. The voice on the other end was certainly not her mother’s… it was undoubtedly Daniel Wells. Why was he calling? What on earth could he want to talk to her dad about?

Though the two men had talked more than once on the phone before, the sequence of events was more than a little curious. Suddenly, she wasn’t hungry anymore. She thought she might be sick instead.

She composed herself enough to clear her head and push aside the confusing emotions swelling in her heart. After their dinner had arrived, Mr. Willeke, with some prompting from his wife, asked Ashlee very directly what she thought of Daniel Wells. Naturally she asked, “As what?”

And the whole long list followed, “As a man, as a friend, as Christian, as a potential suitor…” Inwardly she gulped at that last description, and forced another spoonful of soup down her throat to keep herself composed.

So began the explanation. She spoke as truthfully as she could, but had not enough assurance of her own feelings to say anything to her parents. She said she liked him. She enjoyed him. He met her "criteria". Some days she liked him best. Other days she wasn’t so sure. They agreed on the important things. His vision, she said, was unmatched by any young man she had ever known.

By the end of the conversation she didn’t think that she had given any impression to make her parents believe she thought anything extra special about this young man. She had even admitted to her parents that she felt completely unable and inadequate to make any life-changing decisions-- like choosing a suitor-- at that moment.

But as the Willeke ladies drove home in one vehicle, and Mr. Willeke followed in his own, Daniel Wells’s prayers were answered—in a much more expedient way than he had ever anticipated. Mr. Willeke returned the phone call that had come earlier that evening, and gave an excited young man the OK to begin his romantic pursuit. Evidently, her father had heard nothing discouraging over dinner.

           .... to be continued....

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