I am writing this in response to the following question my Grandma Hilton sent me, as well as a thank you to Lynelle Chenn for her hand in the matter.
Sometimes stories are just meant to intertwine. People call it fate. I call it understanding eternity.
As Andrew knelt on one knee in the middle of the airport, he pulled out a little black box. That little black box held a ring, the ring that every girl dreams about receiving one day. But that little black box contained much more than gold and precious gems.
A few weeks ago he brought up the subject: diamond or pearl? My answer was easy, pearl.
Pearls have always held a special place in my heart. Pearls come from the ocean—a place I associate with adventure. I have loved the ocean ever since I was young, and living in Portugal only intensified that love more. The ocean is a place of unknown, adventure, and astounding beauty. The formation of a pearl inside an oyster is only one illustration of that beauty.
I have always said no to diamonds. Let me clarify. What this means is that I have turn down the opportunity to encourage conflict. Often a beautiful diamond set in an expensive ring is only half the story. The other half is the poverty, violence, and inequality as a result of exploiting people in the diamond mines of developing countries.
The question quickly became more complex: his grandmother’s diamond ring or my own pearl?
I vividly remember the evening his mother Lynelle sat down with all of her children and grandchildren at the Chenn family reunion. She shared with them a beautiful story. The story was about the lives of those who came before her: the lives of her parents, and the lives of her grandparents. The story was about how family history has shaped her into who she is today.
I do not remember many names or specific details from the stories, but I was inspired by Lynelle’s connection to the people and stories in her past. Having a strong connection with people has always been something that I value. Whether those people are sitting next to me now, live on a different continent, or were born hundreds of years ago, I want to be a part of their story. Andrew’s mother graciously offered him his grandmother’s ring, if that was what I wanted.
There are moments when it is right to forage your own path and there are moments when you feel inspired to walk in the footsteps of those who came before you.
As Andrew knelt on one knee in the middle of the airport, he pulled out a little black box. That little black box held a ring, the ring of his grandmother. It was the start of a love story long ago and now it is the start of ours.