“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

My friend Stacey just formally announced her engagement to her beau Willy Nelson.  Now I know what you’re thinking but NO, it isn’t the country western singer Willie Nelson.    They’re planning a Christmastime wedding in a beautiful chapel nestled deep in the Ozarks of southern Missouri.  So what’s so amazing about this engagement?

Everything.  But mostly, because it’s love worth waiting for.

In a society where we get impatient waiting in the Taco Bell drive-through to get our double decker taco, waiting decades on love seems incredulous.

Willy and Stacey collectively waited half a century to write their own love story together.  You see, Willy’s 39 and never been married.  Stacey’s getting set to celebrate the big 5-0 this year and has been divorced for over a decade.  She’s raised 2 kids pretty much on her own and was committed to getting her babies raised before she allowed herself the luxury of love again.

Rare.  Even shocking in the 21st century.

Willy and Stacey were introduced to each other through a home-based business, the Body by Vi Challenge.   Stacey had nixed dating, even putting the thought of it out of her mind until her son had graduated from high school.    She hurried to work, to soccer, to the Mediterranean touring groups of seniors, to church, to the grocery store and back again.  There was never time to even sit down to think about love.

Willy had instituted a new rule of not dating anyone in his business, having been hurt by that before and so he put his head down and kept growing his business. 

Both hearts wanted love.   Both hearts deserved love.   And the heart knows what even the mind won’t allow.   Because the right love is worth waiting for.

Both had their guards up and were content to be business partners and friends.  What started as team members became business partners, partners became best friends and it blossomed from there. 

They continued to work together, noticing their skills complemented each others.  They were helping each other grow their businesses without realizing the amount of time they were spending together and doing things others would have considered ‘dating.’    After being asked by friends and team members if they were dating, it finally became obvious to them and they admitted to themselves they were falling in love.  They began dating as best they could, 2,500 miles apart. 

Yesterday, a full 12 months from their first date, Willy got down on his knee to ask Stacey to be his bride in Loose Park near the rose garden with a honkin’ diamond and a Body by Vi bag draped over his arm.  Her grown daughter Katie (whom he had asked for her blessing) was hiding in the nearby parking lot to hug and congratulate her Mom once it was official.

The engagement is official.  The wedding date is set.  Stacey and Willy are both breathless and giddy with their newfound love.   Their joy is contagious.   We’re planning an engagement party and anxiously awaiting an invitation to their winter wedding.   And most of what I know about this is…it’s a love worth waiting for.    My Grandma was right…good things come to those who wait.