Skip to comments.AFTER ACTION REPORT: How Darth Sidious proposed to Lisa
Posted on 11/27/2001 8:16:08 AM PST by Darth Sidious
Now it can be told...
One Ring to rule him all
One Ring to bind him
One Ring bought at the mall
And now shell ball and chain him
Thursday November 15, 2001: So I left Reidsville around 11 after getting a haircut (couldnt do it back in Asheville, for my timing over the next several days had to be perfect almost by the hour) and headed west. I made it to Asheville right at 2 pm and headed to the mall. To the jewelry store where a month before my sister the Effervescent Anita and I had found the perfect engagement ring. The one that I would use to ask the Lovely Lisa if she would really like to spend the rest of her life with a guy like me. Brave girl, that Lisa!
Almost immediately after entering the place, the nervousness hit. I mean, this was the first time Id ever bought jewelry of any kind. Ever. Much less this kind of jewelry. And you know how you laugh sometimes when youre nervous or excited or whatever, like when youre giving blood and theyre about to jab you with that needle that looks like it should be used to tranquilize elephants? Yeah, thats the kind of laughing I was doing. But Jill and Melaina did a great job in calming me down, patting my hand and hearing this weirdo from off the street spill his guts on how God put he and the Lovely Lisa together, The Plan for pulling off the proposal, etc.
It was then almost 3. I was gonna talk with the manager of the place and she was in at 4, so I left to procure some advance tickets for the next days premiere of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Lisa was coming over for the weekend: we were leaving Saturday for her friends wedding in nearby Pigeon Forge (sort of like Las Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders, with apologies to Branson Missouri) and we wanted to see it on Friday afternoon. Anyhoo, I returned to the store, and 45 minutes later walked out with a little white box containing a rock more potent than Kryptonite.
After a few more stops I left Asheville Mall, and thought the world had come to an end: smoke thicker than most fog was rolling through east Asheville. Smoke, from the worst forest fire in the Smokey Mountains history. Were talking eerie in a Dante-ish way here, I mean. Anyway, I wound up back at the apartment, worked feverishly on cleaning up the place for Lisa (still a bachelor here folks :-) and secured the ring inside my desk.
Now I just had to wait a few more days to do the rest
Friday November 16, 2001: Lisa arrived at 1:30 Friday afternoon, and I had a little gift for her: the soundtrack to Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone. We saw the movie at 3, had pizza at Asheville Pizza and Brewing, and then made a little field trip to Brown Mountain, an hour or so away from Asheville.
So this mountain, see, its haunted or something. Seems like for 800 years or so the local Indians and then the first white settlers have seen glowing lights on the mountain at night. Its been filmed and photographed, has made for an episode of The X-Files a pretty famous phenomenon, whatever it is. Legend has it that its the lanterns of Indian maidens out looking for their menfolk after this battle that took place on the mountain centuries before the first European settlers arrived.
I dont know what the lights are supposed to be, but Lisa and me both saw them around 10:30 that night. Two of them: one toward the top of Brown Mountain, and a cluster of lights below that one. We hanged around for a little while, couldnt figure out what they might be, and drove back. Theres a website at brownmountainlights.com if you ever want directions to the place... its pretty wicked cool : )
Saturday November 17, 2001: We woke up the next morning, left around 11 and found ourselves attending Lisas friends wedding in this cute lil wedding chapel at 3. And during the reception, with Lisa safely outside on the deck with some of the other guests, I talked with Tanya, the new bride. I congratulated her and during the course of our conversation, confided in her that I had the ring ;-) The look on her face was priceless, and when Lisa came in she had this knowing smile that only her and me were privy to :-) She and her new husband are a way cute couple, theyre putting God first before everything else in this, and it was really sweet to see them celebrate their love for each other and for Him.
After the reception we took a different route back to Asheville: this one going through Cherokee. And among other things we wound up visiting the Harrahs Casino (Lisa had never seen the inside of a real casino before :-) and came home.
Sunday November 18, 2001: The next morning we awoke, had lunch at Fuddruckers, then came back and watched Conan The Barbarian on my DVD player. Lisa checked her e-mail on my computer oblivious to the fact that less than one foot away from her rested a piece of jewelry that (I hoped) would change her life for the better, forever.
A great weekend. Was sorry to see it end. Lisa left a short while later... and I set back to work...
Monday November 19, 2001: Woke up at 8, got cleaned up and dressed. My appointment at The Picture People was for 10 a.m. I made it a few minutes early so I traipsed around Asheville Mall for awhile, finding a great store selling exotic tobacco (for Dads pipe :-) At 10 I went in, took out the lightsaber handle I had made in Dads knife shop (its made out of plumbing pipe, a $1.50 showerhead, black split tubing wrapped around a wood dowel for the grip, and the pommel is a replacement faucet handle painted black), screwed in the wood dowel that would guide the blade later, and made four poses holding out the ring. They said the photos would be ready in about an hour, so I left to get a few more things: the most important being going to a kitchen supply store and getting a wooden bowl. That sounds weird now, but it comes into serious play later.
Of the four shots we made, the one of me against the blue background turned slightly askew of the camera was easily the best. I bought it, took it back to the apartment and scanned it in. From there it went to the rest of the TheForce.net staff and then to my old roomie from college, "Weird Ed" Woody (AKA my FR apprentice Darth Tyrannus). Ed worked his magic with Photoshop and played around with different colors for the blade: blue didnt do so well, purple looked good but the green blade was beautiful! We went with it.
The rest of the day was spent getting the apartment extra special cleaned up: it had to be *perfect*. That afternoon I got serious about what text should go with the picture when we posted it to TheForce.net, and it was this that led me to have an utter lack of any sleep that night. It had to be brief but also perfectly encapsulate my love for Lisa. And it had to give the fullest glory to God.
See, our relationship has always been something weve tried to keep centered on Christ, not on each other. For this to work it has to be a three-person commitment, not two. Lisa is the first girlfriend Ive ever had, Im the first boyfriend shes had, and something God has taught us throughout our time together is that we love each other best, by loving and serving Him, first.
Whatever words were used the most important I have ever written thus far in my life they had to sing out to Lisa my love for her. And to the million or so who would be seeing it also, it had to be a witness of Gods love to them, also.
All night I lay awake, with my Bible nearby. Just trying to think of the right words to use. Around 4:30 or so I gave up, and prayed to God: I asked Him to give me whatever words He needed me to use, that Id trust Him to speak about my love for Lisa far more eloquently than I could do it myself.
Now, this sounds crazy, but at 5 that morning, it was like my heart was filled with the wildest inspiration of what should go up later that day. I took a yellow legal pad and started writing. God had given me the perfect "speech" for my proposal.
Tuesday November 15, 2001: Made the short trip to Wal-Mart at 8:30 am, to get two things: candles, and The Fellowship Of The Ring soundtrack, just coming out that morning. I wound up getting two copies of the soundtrack: one with Frodo on the cover and one with Gandalf. And three white scented candles. I returned to the apartment and started cleaning up the car extra-good (Lisa probably would think something was SERIOUSLY up if I went so far as to clean the car, but anyway...) She was coming again that afternoon, and then wed drive on to my parents place in Reidsville to spend Thanksgiving. Wed be there around 7 or 8 that evening.
Well, thats what she thought, anyway :-)
Here was the plan: she was going to call me sometime after 12:30 from Athens, Georgia, after her class that day, to let me know she was on her way. Sometime shortly thereafter I was going to move my car from its usual parking place to the other side of my apartment building, to the gravel driveway in front of MouthOfSouths and her sisters house. When she got there Lisa would think that I was temporarily gone, and a bogus note on the front door added to the effect. When we talked on the phone around 12:45, so as not to ruin the surprise of what was about to happen inside, I told her that the plumbing was out in my building and to use the bathroom before she got here: Nothing was left unconsidered. No possible contingency overlooked. "Make a backup to the backup, and then backup that"... thats Darth Sidiouss S.O.P. If Josh Griffin, editor of TheForce.net, for some reason couldnt post the proposal, I had phone numbers of the rest of staff, including the ones overseas. Nothing was being left to chance. And I also put on the same outfit I had worn for the photo the day before. The way I looked in the photo with the ring would be exactly as she would see me that afternoon.
At 1:30 I called Josh: he was about to watch the Planet Of The Apes DVD to review for his MovieHeadlines.net site. Lisa wouldnt get there til 4 at the earliest, but Josh had an idea: we would post the proposal at 3. Give it time to "circulate" and then at the right time use it with Lisa. I wound up calling him twice more: the 2nd time to make sure which hand to put the ring on (hey, I was nervous!) and then just before the proposal "went live". No way could I post this myself: Josh was the one who brought me aboard TheForce.net, and hes become an incredible friend and brother in the Lord. "Josh, this honor goes to you. But I also want you to realize that with one keystroke, youre ending an entire era of my life!" Josh laughed with devilish delight, hit the "submit" button on the admin screen and the deed was done.
Now all that was left was to wait for Lisa.
4:30 PM Tuesday November 15, 2001: Lisa arrived.
I saw her pull up into the driveway and walk uphill towards the stairs leading up to my apartment. Heard her boots against the wood and then, the storm door opening.
The computer, already online at TheForce.net, was the only thing running: she absolutely had to believe that no one was home. She read the note, and thank the Lord that He made it chilly that day, because she went back to her car to wait for me. It was partly the geography of my apartment that suggested this next part: if someone is inside the parking area below, I can quietly open and close my door, run uphill and to my car, and pull around as if Id just come from someplace. Which I did. And that was important because in the few minutes between her arriving and me bolting the apartment for my car, there were some... preparations... to be made.
A few minutes later I pulled around the corner and into the driveway. Lisa was beaming a beautiful smile "She really has no idea whats about to happen", I thought to myself. We embraced, talked briefly and then I said "hey Lisa, Ive got a surprise for you!" Going back into the car I pulled out the bag with the two Fellowship Of The Ring soundtrack CDs. Lisa is now into my copy of The Two Towers, and shes a fan of Frodo and Gandalf, so I let her pick which one she wanted (she went for Frodo, so I have Gandalf :-). She opened her trunk and I helped put her luggage into my car. And then, we walked up the hill to my front door.
"Lisa," I said to her, "I know weve talked a lot about this, and weve prayed a lot about this. And I know youve said you would if I ever asked you, but... God has really put it on my heart to ask you again, if I were to really ask you to marry me, would you really say 'yes'?"
"I would," she said. And this was something weve brought to the Lord a lot lately.
"Okay, just wondering. Thats something thats been on my heart a lot the past few days." And even with that, she was STILL surprised as to what happened next...
We entered the living room of my apartment. But it looked far different than it had ever been since Ive lived there, and not because it was clean for a change :-) The light had been dimmed, and the candles were set around the room, flickering softly and lovingly. We looked into each others eyes and embraced again, and I let Lisa take a seat on the sofa. My Bible was resting nearby. I picked it up and read to her from the book of Ephesians, chapter 5, verses 22-33, in which Paul writes about husbands and wives serving each other and serving as the bride of Christ.
"Lisa, God has put this desire on my heart to serve you, and to serve Him together with you. And Im not above the Master. The calling on my heart is to serve you in humbleness, as He served us first. And I would like to serve you now just as He did."
From beneath the chair next to the sofa, I gently pulled the wood bowl, which had been filled with warm water just after Lisa pulled into the driveway. A towel was also hidden with it. And in the softness of candlelight, with Gods love all around and between us, I gently untied her boots, removed them and her socks, lowered her feet into the warm water and washed them.
We couldnt take our eyes from each other, in that moment. It was so simple an act, and yet the most loving we had ever known in our lives. There was a connectedness there, my hands working the desire of my heart: "I long to serve you with all my being, to serve Christ and to serve you". Lisas face was so beautiful, her smile so tender and loving... this was the girl Id waited all my life for, and she so understood and accepted what it was I was asking of her, what God was drawing us into.
I took the towel and, as delicately as I could, dried her feet. "Lisa," I said softly, "there is something I need to say to you, but Im not very good at making speeches. Especially when Im this nervous. But theres something Ive written and I would like for you to read it."
I took her hand, and led her to the computer about five feet away. The screen had gone dark from unuse, but a movement of the trackball brought up TheForce.net. And the top headline: "Lisa McBrayer, Please Click Here". Lisa smiled, and clicked on the headline.
And this is what she saw...
I'm Chris Knight And I'm Here To Rescue You!
Tue, Nov 20, 01 07:00:00 PM EST
And now, a special message from one of TheForce.net staff:Dear Lisa,
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
When my belief was broken, He sent you... and you taught me anew the joy of a childlike faith.
When hope seemed shattered, you gave me a smile... and the light in your eyes spurred me on to go the distance.
When I debated whether there really could be such a thing as pure love in this world, you came into my life... and the matter was forever settled in my heart.
You've taught me how to live again, to enjoy this sacred gift to its fullest. And now, more than anything else, I would choose to share this gift with you.
We have been served by Christ as His bride. And I thank Him that of all the guys in this world, I might serve Him together with you... and serve you as my own precious bride.
When she saw the picture, she turned to look at me, with tears in her eyes. "Lisa," I said, kneeling down beside her, holding the opened box with the ring inside. "Lisa McBrayer, will you marry me?"
"Yes," she quietly said without hesitation.
We hugged again, and then God gave me the most awesome honor of slipping the engagement ring onto the finger of the greatest soulmate that He could have ever blessed a guy in this world with.
A few minutes later, Josh posted this update to TheForce.net:
It gives us great pleasure to announce officially that Lisa accepted the proposal just moments ago and they are as of this moment now engaged. Congrats from all of us at TFN and may the Force be with you!
Hope y'all find this a good read, particularly the ladies who had an especialy great interest in the story :-)
Seriously, congratulations may you both have a lifetime of love and may all your troubles be little ones.
Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed(both of you) - Yorktown
Six months, this thing was in the works. At first it was just to propose on TFN, then some Star Wars-ish ideas presented themselves. My best friend since kindergarten suggested doing it in costume, and the first idea was to borrow some Stormtrooper armor, hold the helmet in one and the ring in the other (Lisa's "Knight in shining armor" so to speak ;-) Then it was going to be a full Jedi outfit, but some complications arose that kept that from happening.
In the end, it's just me, with the most well-known of Star Wars gimmicks, doing a proposal that was from the heart. Couldn't have been better... and I'm SO overjoyed that she said yes! :-)
Congratulations to both of you!
Seroiusly though, Pigeon Forge is beautiful right now with its Christmas decor. I'm thinking of visiting again sometime soon :-)
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