A recurring conversation pops up around me in diverse and unconnected settings, from family and friends to people I only know in online communities, but connected by a question or a certainty for some who have experienced it: the existence of soulmates. Some who claim not to have experienced it often claim that there must be several people out there as possible mates for each person, or none at all, and that there is no such thing as soulmates. Others who haven’t experienced it nonetheless believe it and hope that they meet theirs, or accept and live with the knowledge that who they are with is not their soulmate, even though they love that person deeply. Could there be more than one if a person loses theirs? I imagine that it could well be true but have yet to hear those stories.
Others who have known it once know it well and truly and fully. They describe it as a connection so deep within their souls, knowing and being known almost more than they consciously know themselves, as if they were meant to see into each other and help the other see themselves as they are truly created to be. It was something ‘bigger’ than the both of them, had a power of its own, remained when they walked away and moved on; there was no escape, no getting over it. It held them in a bond that was beyond them both, that could not be severed, forgotten, ‘happyed’ away. It ‘just was’ and no matter how they lived, prayed, loved, worked… it never left them.
It came at first sight for some and slower for others who lived more cautiously. One man who is not a particularly religious person described it simply, ‘God told me she was the one and I asked her to marry me.’ That was more than three decades ago; not an easy three decades by any stretch of the imagination but this man knew this woman was his one and only, his soulmate chosen for him if you will. Throughout those three decades this knowing humbled him when he needed humbling, helped him persevere and grow and made him into the man he is today.
Some knew while they were in it that what was between their heart and the other person’s was like nothing they had ever known. Others knew it fully only after they were apart. Some realized that this was something to hold onto and others didn’t know that it would not come again and they let go, trying to forgive themselves in all the years since. Some were torn apart by well-meaning people or by people with ill intent. Some are still together, with many years of love that grows stronger every day.
But for the person whose path crossed with a person they described as a soulmate, yet are not with this other person no matter the reason, it seems as if a broadsword was taken in hand by some malevolent force and swung with great might, striking them across their heart, leaving a wound for which there is no healing to be found on this earth. Time does not soften the scar because the wound never ceases its bleeding long enough to form one.
Some of these people I know, and I know that they love the one they’re with. They are true and faithful and their love is real. But in their happiest moments and in the private darkness of the wee hours their hearts bleed on. Although their lives may seem perfect and you cannot point to an obvious tragedy, they know grievous loss all the same. They have learned to live each day with this pain ever present. You will likely never hear their story for they are unwilling to cut someone else with the truth. But they are some of the strongest people you will ever chance to meet.
‘It’s the love that, if lost by a foil against destiny, will leave the people empty, pinning (sp) and never forgetting and never fulfilled. It’s the love that makes you cringe at the thought that, had your life gone differently even for a millisecond, you may have not met this person – but in your heart you know you would have, some way, somehow, because soulmates always find one another.’ ~Urban Dictionary*
I have wondered around (spelling intended) on this concept of soulmates. I don’t think it’s possible for one person to feel it and not the other; this is not the substance of soulmates. It is the recognition of two hearts, the mutuality of the experience; this is consistently what people tell me, and although I haven’t done a research project on it (although that would be fascinating), from the stories I’ve heard over time, both people realize that it is true between them, maybe not at the same time but eventually. Part of the hesitation for some seems to come from a tinge of cynicism, or a slowness to trust, or listening to other cynics around them who tell them that there are plenty of fish in the sea and they should be more sensible in their selection. Some ‘nice’ folks tell them not to be foolish but hide the fact that they are hurting too and can’t bear to believe that such a thing exists. Others say that this love doesn’t fit, ‘it isn’t right’ they advise, cloaking their hidden agendas, their selfish wants and wishes, behind their authority and position of influence in the two people’s lives.
It is a sorrow-filled thing when two people with an extraordinary connection, and unrealized promise between them, are torn apart or kept apart by others… or themselves by their own fear or disbelief or trivializing of it, as if it will come again and again in their lives, or that they can live without it, forget it. But time reveals that it is not so.
These incredibly deep connections, even if we don’t understand them, should not be trifled with. We should not enter into advice or comment or judgment lightly. If we look to God for an example, look to Jesus for how its done, then we know that love is wild, painful, all in, once and forever, without reason or limit, intense, poetic, eternal, immediate, impractical (God doesn’t grow to love you. He has no reason to love you. Loving humans doesn’t hold much logic. But God loves you at the earliest moment possible, immediately, madly, passionately and eternally).
Sometimes in this world, some get to know this heart-altering experience that takes them, that is beyond them, that cannot be controlled by their mind or their actions. They cannot escape it, forget it, undo it, love someone else enough to make it go away. Some may wish it had never been, especially when the bleeding is so profuse that they can’t catch their breath, but I don’t recall someone telling me that they wished they had never known this.
I believe soulmates exist. For everyone, I’m not sure. But for some, I know it is true. I believe there is a reason. Maybe it is that some hearts are more willing to believe in what they cannot see, and then it is made sight. It may also be the reminder of how things were once meant to be for all, and now serves as a window or a telescope… a chance to glimpse the edge of the nature of God’s love, infinite and neverending. It seems like looking through a powerful telescope into the night sky and seeing clusters of stars and galaxies where our naked eye only sees black emptiness. Instead of denying the existence, or trying to describe what is in the black space by those who have never seen through the telescope, it seems wise to listen to those whose hearts cannot help but see what is in those seemingly empty spaces. They cannot unsee what they see or unknow what they know is there in the dark space of the soul. They have seen what some will never have the chance to see here on this earth.
A soulmate connection. It is amazing. It is painful. It is frightening in how it humbles. It is comforting and majestic as it reveals the Creator. It is exquisitely beautiful. It is real.
Eva Cassidy sings Fields of Gold, written by Sting, and something about her emotion, her voice… perhaps in her too-short life she too came to see what is in those seemingly empty spaces in the night sky of the soul.
* I looked up several dictionary definitions but I think when it comes to matters of the heart, it is best to let those who claim to have actually experienced it to say what it is. So for its flaws, I think Urban Dictionary does a decent job (people contribute their definitions and others vote on them).