Anyone who knows me understands why I don’t subscribe to the label “Black” meaning “bad” or “evil”–I am Black, after all. But this Black Friday, was certainly not “good.”
I was rudely awakened early in the morning and after a series of unfortunate events, I couldn’t high-tail it out of there fast enough. I had to get back to my own home where it was safe. After my $20 (!) cab ride down the street to the train station, I’d discovered that for once in my life, I had arrived early–as in 5 1/2 hours early–for the next train.
I sat inside at the train station with that now infamous rolling suitcase, a duffel bag, my briefcase and my purse, apparently upsetting the homeless man that had taken refuge there. I was frustrated and tired, and had way too much baggage, but that homeless man kept side-eying me for moving in on his territory. Reluctantly, I rolled my stuff out of there to the Subway down the street.
I was freezing cold and still wearing my Thanksgiving dress from the night before. I waddled down the street like a bag lady, looking pretty homeless myself. Anything else? I asked, to no one in particular. Of course there was. It started to drizzle what felt like ice. But, I made it to the Subway, with all my baggage, in one piece.
It was 10:30 in the morning, but I ordered a turkey sub, anyway. And a cookie. And some hot tea. I didn’t see tea on the menu, but I really needed some. The Indian owner looked around to see if his wife was watching and when it was safe, he motioned me closer: “Tea is not on the menu, but I give you tea from my country, no charge.” He went under the counter and grabbed a tea bag. “See!” He exclaimed, showing me the label, “From the Taj Mahal.” At last! A bright spot! “Thank you, so much!”
I sat down with my Indian tea and my Subway sandwich and was bombarded with thoughts and emotions:
Oh God. Will I ever have a normal family? Will I ever have a normal relationship with my sisters, my mother, my father? Will I ever be normal? Will I ever be loved?
Sipping my Indian tea made me remember that Liz was in India in my book: Eat, Pray, Love. I had a desperate urge to get there with her to escape my own thoughts and my own life–at least while I waited for the train. I dug through my luggage until I found the book and began to read:
And worst of all, I can’t stop obsessing over David. I thought I was over him, but it’s all coming up again.” He says, “Give it another six months, you’ll feel better.”
“I’ve already given it twelve months, Richard.”
“Then give it six more. Just keep throwin’ six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time.” I exhale hotly through my nose, bull-like.
…Richard says, “listen to me. Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it–in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Take this time, every minute of it. Let things work themselves out here…”
“But I really loved him.”
“Big deal. So you fell in love with someone. Don’t you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper than you thought you were capable of reaching, I mean you got zapped, kiddo. But that love you felt, that’s just the beginning. You just got a taste of love. That’s just limited little rinky-dink mortal love. Wait til you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck–you have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny. Don’t laugh.”
“I’m not laughing.” I was actually crying. “And please don’t laugh at me now, but I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate.”
“He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go. It’s over. David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform you life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over…”
“But I love him.”
“So love him.”
“But I miss him.”
“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, and then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll really be alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone…If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot…God will rush in–and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”
“Listen, you’re a powerful woman and you’re used to getting what you want out of life, and you didn’t get what you wanted in your last few relationships and it’s got you all jammed up. Your husband didn’t behave the way you wanted him to and David didn’t either. Life didn’t go your way for once. And nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin’ her way.”
“All right, Richard, that’s enough,” I say. “I don’t want you walking around inside my head anymore.”
“Shut the door, then,” says my big Texas Yogi.
So I shut the book. They were both walking around in my head. Again. I was completely overwhelmed at–once again–reading about my life in someone else’s story, ridiculously close to verbatim.
Then, overwhelmed flooded into relieved. I thought about the dream I had had so many months ago where I asked God if this man was my person and God clearly answered “Yes.” I had wrestled with that dream ever since, because–short of a burning bush–EVERYTHING screamed that we would never get back together and probably never should. But my dream was so clear. How could I reconcile my dream with my reality? Had I been wrong to think I had actually heard from God? Was it just me? Was I just hearing what I wanted to hear in that dream and framing God for it?
But now its reconciled. This guy did literally every single thing that Richard describes a soul mate is supposed to do. I was certainly smacked awake and driven out of an unhealthy/unhappy almost-married relationship. I was certainly so distraught that I had no choice but to change my life, and I certainly saw a mirror image of myself that made me want to lose EVERYTHING that was holding me back. So, he was my person, after all. For awhile. And he served his purpose. And–irrespective of the general consensus of my friends and family–it is perfectly o.k. and definitely possible to love him and miss him and move on with my life.
I’m normal! I thought, relieved. Thanks, God.
As I sat in Subway thinking on these things, I finally noticed that music was playing softly from the p.a. It was country western. A man crooned, “God must really love me.” Now that’s just overkill! I joked with God. And there in the Subway, I cried tears of joy for the massive wave of confirmation that God had just given me.
Now that’s the kind of love that’s better than a movie.