Four years ago, a kind and thoughtful blogger wrote a flattering review of my efforts on this blog. He linked my site to his. I was seventeen. Little did I know that the stage had just been set for my impending happiness. For in 2009, a singularly interesting person happened upon that kind and thoughtful blogger's webpage and found that rather overly complimentary post about me. Curious, he clicked to my blog, and intrigued, he began to read.
He read for a while without writing to me, fascinated to find that despite the differences in our respective backgrounds- mine, that of a Chicagoan Jewess who upheld the ideals of Yeshiva University, that institution which is known for its staunch belief in Zionism and Torah U'Madda, and his, that of a Hasid raised in Boro Park who was instructed in Fear of God and the primacy of Torah learning, our value systems and beliefs appeared to be on common ground. Externally, we probably couldn't be more different, but in terms of the people we were inside- well, there there was no distinction.
One day he wrote to me, and as I have done with many others before, I decided to meet him. He was fascinating. Born into a community that prides itself upon being insular, he had ventured beyond it while remaining true to its ideals. A Hasid, in his view, should be joyous, spiritually involved with God, truth-seeking and otherwise open to different ways to serve Him. And he was all these things. The mixture between curiosity, exploration and pride in his particular heritage made him unique. It would have been easy to simply determine that the lifestyle he had been given was flawed and therefore decide to do away with it completely. But he wears his hat and jacket/langeh rekel with pride, takes pleasure in explaining his background and its philosophical reasoning to others and works on himself without falling prey to simply excoriating all those who differ from him.
Which leads us to April 26, 2010, the day upon which our beloved protagonist asked me to marry him.
He did it brilliantly. I've always been Belle, as the longtime readers of this blog can attest, and he is very aware of it. There is a pivotal scene in the Disney rendition of "Beauty and the Beast" where the Beast has determined that he desires to give something precious to Belle. Cogsworth and Lumiere suggest flowers and chocolates but the Beast finally determines to offer Belle his library- a place which will fascinate and fulfill her. This is the scene in question:
After scouring New York for various places that would suit me or wherein he could propose, his efforts were rewarded. He decided to recreate that scene from "Beauty and the Beast", renting out the breathtaking and grand Astor Hall in the New York Public Library, replete with medieval gothic candelabras and otherwise elegant ambience. The physical beauty of the hall is reminiscent of the style in which fairytales appear, and the fact that it is a library makes the parallel to "Beauty and the Beast" all the more prominent.
(Here's a picture of Astor Hall taken from the New York Public Library website:
Aside from ensuring that the ambience and decor were in accord with my Fairy Queen nature, he also knew that my favorite flowers in the world are roses. So he hunted down the most beautiful, gorgeous, deep dark red longstemmed roses and when he led me inside (after telling me to close my eyes, in keeping with the scene), I opened up a box which revealed them:
And thus it was that in the midst of this spacious, grand, elegant, breathtaking hall, lit by candelabras and inlaid with beautiful patterns, my true love proposed to me. He spoke of many beautiful things, then asked me to marry him and offered me the ring (which is exquisite). And I said yes. And I was happy and there were pictures and then we danced off to Abigael's and inhaled a sumptuous meal with various delicacies in the style of "Be My Guest." And made lots of phone calls.
This entire situation fills me with a sense of appreciation that borders upon wonder. Consider how many things had to fall into place so that everything could work out just so to ensure that I would meet him. My love story was set into motion when I was 17, totally unbeknownst to me, through the kindness of a person who decided to write something sweet about me. He certainly did not know the impact his words could have. It is also amazing that the people I met during the course of my time at Stern and Revel were those who enabled me to understand, appreciate and properly comprehend the various fantastic qualities that my fiancé possesses. There are many more details which I choose not to discuss in this forum, but suffice it to say that the hand of God is evident in this match, as it is impossible for myself and my future husband to have existed under any but the most perfectly orchestrated play constructed by God.
It is similar to the life story of a diamond ring. A diamond may originate as a piece of carbon, and only through many trials and ordeals is it formed into its sparkling essence, heated in the fiery furnace until it radiates light. Yet a diamond alone is of no value. A diamond must exist within a setting, within the ring that gives it form and shape. Without its setting, a diamond is beautiful, but feels lonely; the setting, while also possessing a lovely form, feels purposeless. When they unite, they abandon loneliness in pursuit of a happy togetherness and achieve their purpose. And perhaps it is precisely because of this that it is that symbol of regard which one generally bestows upon one's future wife.
So I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible and awesome power of God, who arranged details in ways I could never have envisioned, and also thank the many people who were a part of this, whether their roles were small or large. To those who have influenced me in various ways and whom I have loved, you are wonderful friends and mentors and I have gained much from you. You have enabled me to be the person who could marry someone as remarkable and unusual as my future husband is. And to he who found it within himself to write some words of praise and create a gateway, I think you should be aware that God clearly sees that you are a very special person, for it is only special people whom God uses as gateways and vessels. It's akin to the prophets, in fact. And for those who encouraged me to see past the externals that blinded me, I also offer thanks.
It is a rare and lovely day when one can see clearly their moment in the tapestry that God has been weaving, and such moments afford a mental clarity and beauty that offers inspiration and hope, which is our gift to all of you. I feel blessed and lucky and am well aware that there are many others who still wish to find their happiness or desire to achieve success. May God bless you as He has blessed me; it is my wish that you too find your moment in the tapestry.
With wishes for the continued health, success, personal growth, happiness, fulfillment and felicity for all of you, we remain,
The Hasid and the Fairy Queen