So Deacon proposed (again) to Rayna on Nashville Season 4 Winter Finale and she said yes, and since he wasn’t drunk or dying and she wasn’t engaged to someone else, come March 16, when Nashville will return from its (endless) winter hiatus, we’ll all have a country royal wedding. After the hell they put each other through and let’s face it, us as well, it’s defiantly a cause for a celebration.
It’s also a cause for a little reflection on their journeys together and apart especially since that last proposal on the bridge was also the ending for the chapter in these characters’ lives, which begun for them a lifetime ago and for us, almost four years ago, on that same bridge.
To me, it was interesting to watch not just how Deacon proposed and Rayna replied but what version of them we meet on that bridge this time as opposed to the first bridge scene on the pilot episode. After all, the love, friendship and music between them were always there, present but it was also a very impossible love. What changed? What made it possible now?
A little while ago I wrote an Instagram post about it and recently got the best compliment I could ever receive when one of the best video editors on YouTube, Suvi made a video inspired by it.
So I decided to edit it a little and publish my little Instagram post again here with Suvi’s video and new versions of the two follow up posts I wrote about the same scene from Deacon and Rayna’s “perspective.
1. His Side
What a difference a year makes. Last year, around this time of year Deacon Claybourne had one of the worst Christmases a guy can have. Just when he put up the Christmas lights, Rayna came over and told him to move on (and turned the lights off metaphorically) and then when he finally got his Christmas cheer back after the wedding was canceled and he got to punch Luke and hear Rayna tell him she loves him – there was the cancer thing.
But the most constant thing in life is change and some things, like Deacon’s love for Rayna, the more they change – the more they stay the same. But others truly do change and this year the hardest thing for Deacon was to keep up with all the changes and realize although he may sometimes still sees himself as the man who comes out last and miss out on life – he’s actually living his dream.
This year Deacon got his life that’s good and there were more happy tears than sad ones.
Unlike before when a thing like grief, destroyed his life, this time he managed to push through. It wasn’t pretty all the time and there’s still the Maddie issue to resolve but it didn’t make him lose everything and that’s a lot.
There’s no need for miracles this time, just confidence the joy and happiness are not something temporary that he’s not worthy of.
Problem is, of course, it’s easier said than done. After Deacon bought the ring and planned the perfect proposal life got in the way (or Markus in this case) and destroyed his plans. His reaction was a classic Deacon – he lashed out and took it out on Rayna.
It’s not the first (or million) time it happened and Rayna walked out. What changed was his reaction to it – he didn’t disappear; he didn’t run away to his men cave to lick his wounds alone, calm down and enter the self-hatred-guilt cycle that when he reaches its end it’s already too late to apologize and make things better.
This time he was brave enough to stay and do the right thing not when it’s the perfect moment and he’s ready but when the reality around him calls for it. They had a fight now and it was time to make amends now. He had a ring in his pocket and he knew it was the right time in their relationship to do it, so why waste another moment?
Being flexible and adapt to changes is a privilege of the strong because if you’re weak, you fear so much to lose everything that every change can shake your entire foundations. Deacon never handled changes very well and we saw it’s what triggered him to drink in the past. But one can’t have a healthy relationship without flexibility because things happen and you also can’t walk on eggshells all the time around the people you share your life with in fear they’ll explode. I mean, you can; it’s just called abusive relationship.
This time, Deacon started as the old Deacon. After all, old habits die hard and he’ll forever be an alcoholic with anger management issues. But he didn’t let it go far and immediately changed his behavior. He opened up instead of close off.
He was finally truly acting like someone sober.
That was the time to propose.
And so he did.
2. Her Side
The truth is Rayna already said ‘I do’ long time ago-when she decided she’s in just before she asked Deacon to sing with her at the Opry.
After that it was a matter of formality.
If there’s one word that fits Rayna Jaymes and her decision to get together with Deacon it’s ‘Surrender’, even more than Deacon. She tried to fight that love in every way possible because she knew it was bad for her for so many reasons. She stopped when she looked around and saw that despite her efforts, without noticing, she kept making the same decision over and over and that’s involving Deacon in her life – their lives were completely connected.
After that revelation it was a matter of a little bit of healing to clear some of the pain and stop lying to herself.
Read: More About Rayna Jaymes
Rayna is not perfect, she’s human and she loves this imperfect man that brings her joy in many ways but also occasionally disappoints her as a partner. So she chose him and never looked back (or outside) after that.
It was Deacon who did. He’s the one who had to get used to the fact they’re together and make the necessary adjustments. He was also the one who had the “crisis before the jump” syndrome of relationship where you fight a lot before taking the next step.
It wasn’t Rayna. She was already married in her heart. On that bridge she only needed a minute before jumping back in because, yes, she was angry and frustrated but she didn’t quit the relationship.
She said yes because on that bridge Deacon finally made the leap too and acted like a real partner.
He opened up and did what she did long ago – made a commitment by staying.
Rayna isn’t perfect, Deacon isn’t perfect and together they’re not the perfect couple but a very loving and committed one.
The decision to marry Deacon was actually a decision to remarry him because they have been together in one way or another most of their lives.
Rayna’s bravery to choose what’s best for HER even if it’s not perfect comes from knowing herself very well. She surrendered to love but not as a compromise of someone who doesn’t think she’ll find better or afraid of being alone.
Rayna already found “better” men.
Teddy gave her security and stability and Luke matched her career ambitions and gave her a version of “what if” that’s been haunting her. In her case it was what if Deacon would have stayed sober and not destroys their relationship and his career.
Today Rayna is mature and confident enough to create stability and security for herself; she doesn’t need someone else to do it for her.
What she needs is a full partner. She needs someone she can be herself with, someone who together with him she’ll feel at home and be able to build a home she doesn’t want to run away from.
That’s Deacon; it’s always been him and it’s finally possible.
Her ability to see things as they are and make that leap of faith one takes in these types of situation from a place of truth and so much love, to me, is her most beautiful and inspirational traits. It’s true for getting married and for everything else.
So, congratulations Rayna! Guess my invitation got lost in the mail, ha?
3. The Bridge
Back on the Nashville pilot episode, when Deacon asked Rayna what she would change, her first reaction was “Nothing!” and then “Everything”
When Rayna asked Deacon the same question his first reaction was “Everything!” and then, “Nothing”
This one word switch sums up the difference between Rayna and Deacon and their journeys. Rayna is like a force of nature; she’s a self-made woman who keeps pushing forward and takes risks, so her first instinct is not to erase everything she did and start over.
It takes her couple of seconds and the right person beside her to tap into the deep hidden place inside her heart where her regrets lay and acknowledge the fact everything could’ve been different.
Deacon is the opposite. He comes from a place of endless regrets, guilt and self-hatred and so much of his life was spent on trying to hold on to the past and fix it.
For him, saying “Everything” without even thinking is natural. But he came a long way since and learned how to be present and grab in two hands the opportunities life has to offer and life, eventually, gave him everything he ever wanted so he wouldn’t change a thing.
Except one thing and that’s proposing properly. All his previous proposals were about him and his journey: He was drunk and didn’t want to lose Rayna; He made progress and wanted her back; He was dying and wanted her by his side.
Not this time.
The one regret Deacon has he couldn’t let go of is the pain and chaos he brought into the life of the one person he loves the most and this proposal was his great gesture.
I’m sure the road won’t be easy for them but at least now it’s a new and open road. The past was laid to rest and now it’s time to take a step forward together into the future.
Nothing, Everything….it doesn’t matter anymore because it all led them to the same place in the same city on the same bridge at the right time.