Jessica and Ethan
How We Met
It was the third day of school the first time I (Ethan) stepped foot into the Hub. The Hub is a community space made available by The House Ministry on the campus of UT – Chattanooga. On that fateful Wednesday night, the US Women’s soccer team was in town and playing down the road, and it was being live-streamed in the Hub.
I had been invited to the USA-themed party that night by someone I had just met earlier that day, and I walked into that place knowing absolutely no one. About three steps into the room, I am greeted by a perky blonde-haired girl named Jessica. She knew by the nervous look on my face that I had no idea where I was. She took it upon herself to make me feel welcome and introduce me to others. As it so happened, I likely would not have met anyone or invested much of myself had this young lady not pulled me into the family that I would come to know and cherish at that place. To this day, she does not remember this interaction.
How He Asked
So it all went down on Saturday, October 28. The place: Coolidge Park. The time: Sunrise. The weather: raining and 40 degrees.
I had the photographer lined up, with Plans A-C ready if necessary. However, the night before, Jessica tried to change the venue on me! I had Coolidge planned, where a photographer can readily hide, but she at the last minute tried to swap up to Craven’s House on Lookout Mountain, with NO good hiding spots.
Alas, I talked her into braving the cold weather to watch an overcast sunrise in 40 degree weather. We brought with us Dunkin’ Donuts and a chess board, the first “date” we ever had. After getting rained on for 20 minutes even under a bridge, and getting so many chess pieces knocked over by the wind that we lost track of the board, we gave up and began to watch the paddle boarding competition that was about to kick off. As we climbed down the rocks closer to the river to get a better view, a car of strangers pulled up and blocked the view of our photographer! However, Abi wasn’t going to let that stop her, and climbed on in with the strangers! After a few minutes of taking in the view, she started to try to take a selfie of us. Trying my best to think on my feet, I asked her if she would want me to see if the people in the car would take our picture. So, we walked up the rocks and I took my phone out. I put on the song. The song I told her I would play if I ever asked her out on a date, but never did. Until now.
So, Brian J & Travis Porter’s “Let Me Take You Out” started up in my pocket. I reminded her of how long I had wanted to play that song for her, how our relationship started with a game of chess, and how special this sunrise would be to the both of us. Dropping to one knee, I blurted out “Jessica Shea Gibbs… will you marry me?”
She would later claim that she was 60% sure that I was going to propose that morning, but her dropping down into a crouch with her hands on hers face said otherwise. I am so excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend glorifying God, and the moment she said yes will forever be etched in my heart!