XXI. the one regrettable conflict.
Suffice to say, planning an event of this magnitude would inevitably bring about tension felt and tempers flared. And I’m no angel. I have a foul temper (that only the closest friends experience) and unfortunately, Cheryl faced the brunt of it. I regret my outburst until this day. But on hindsight, the conflict we had served to strengthen our friendship so much more.
She was that one person I knew I could count on and she played a dual role in this proposal. Firstly, she was my quality-controller; I ran almost all my plans through her – from the many overarching ideas down to the colour of the tidbit jar. I didn’t need her to make decisions for me, but the best way for me to think and decide was to have someone to talk me through my thoughts as I verbalised them. She played this pivotal role and she was superb in every role that I needed her to play.
But she dropped a huge bombshell on me. She could neither make it for the proposal nor the engagement party because it was Founder’s Day for her school and as a teacher (and someone in the organising committee), there was no way she could have, as much as she desired to, miss an annual event for an event of a lifetime. Ironic, but true. And we were both gutted by it.
However, I didn’t express my disappointment properly and ended up flaring up at her for not being able to turn up. My reaction was uncharacteristically petty, completely unreasonable, unnecessarily dramatised and certainly regrettable. I was shocked at some of the expressions I used to describe my disappointment at her impending absence.
I didn’t throw abusive language at her of course, but the content of my message was definitely abrasive and there was no reason for me to behave in that manner. It was unbecoming from a youth pastor and her ministry leader, of all people. And I was ashamed of how I had conducted myself.
And all this was in light of her creating the entire guestbook for me… It was an amazing effort, really, and I appreciate it so much more because I’m terrible with arts and crafts. She had skipped her a Bible Study Fellowship session to pick out the best set for me, spent many hours putting it together, as well as put up with my idiosyncrasies and demands.
After I came to my senses, I apologised to her profusely. But the damage was already done and there was a lot I had to do to repair the cracks in the friendship I introduced. I asked her for her grace and forgiveness, and to give me an opportunity to win her trust again. Well, I shall leave out details of our conflict… And of course, I wouldn’t have mentioned this unless we had already reconciled… Today, our friendship today is stronger than ever.
I’ve decided to include this episode in my proposal story because I wanted to state that planning for this engagement wasn’t just physically demanding, but it also took a toll on me emotionally. I stepped on some toes along the way, and I am sure that I may step on a few more as I plan for the wedding next August. But I have learnt my lesson – people are more important than events, even if that event is of extreme significance. I shall carry that into the next year.
The other reason I’ve included this anecdote was to highlight the strength of Christian fellowship. And Cheryl epitomised it for me. In fact, everyone who was involved in my proposal in big and small ways, are examples of how precious Christian fellowship is. It tested the solidity of my friendship and while I failed the test, I passed the exam by the grace of God.
Next chapter: the time to face the music.