A couple of months back, I asked my grandma how she felt when she met my grandpa.
Both had shared the “how we met” story a dozen times over the years. They both tell it differently, but the gist is the same:
He saw her walking on the sidewalk as he passed on the bus. He pointed to her and told his buddy, “I’m going to marry that girl.” His friend told him he was crazy. By the end of the night, he worked up the nerve to help her with her coat as she left. A nervous American soldier and a hard-working British girl walking to the bus stop together. They were married over 50 years before he passed away.
After she recounted the story I smiled, relishing the few extra details that show up with each re-telling, and asked, “But how did you feel? Did you love him right away? Did you have that gut feeling that he was ‘the one’?” I stopped before referencing the thunderbolt. If soul mates are real, then they were each other’s and I wanted to know: How do you know?
She stared into space as if she had never thought about it before. “He was nice,” she finally said. Then she added, “I haven’t really thought about it before.”*
A romantic she is not.
I went home that day feeling a bit forlorn. How could she have so little to say about an encounter that would ultimately be so profound and life-changing? The woman who can guess the circumference of a pregnant woman’s belly from 30 feet away. (She kills it at baby showers!) The woman who gets those same instincts as I do before something bad happens or when we both meet someone who is untrustworthy. The woman who taught me to trust those instincts.
How could she have had no idea that by letting this gangly farmboy help her with her coat that her life would be taken down a totally different path than she could have ever expected? It occurred to me then that she probably just did not care. She was probably worrying about “more important things” or, perhaps, she just went with it.
Bah. Who does that?
Then, something strange happened. Every visit since, she’s warmed up a bit more. She’s shared more stories about the two of them and the ‘good ole days.’ She even stared off one day into space and said, unprovoked, “You’ll meet the one and, when you do, you won’t know what hit you.”
Could it be? Is she a closet believer in the thunderbolt?
Today. TODAY. She was eager to share a stack of old photographs of my grandpa. There were some of my mom as well. There was even a tin image of a great-great-grandfather as an infant. Then she showed me this one and said, “That was before he came to get me.”
I looked at the picture and just blinked. It made no sense with the timeline. Clearly, this was a picture taken by his family in Indiana.
She said, “You know, I really think there must be something bigger out there.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“There must be something more guiding it all, the way it all worked out. He was supposed to go straight to Korea but something happened with the transportation and they were put in England and made to wait for a while. If he had not had to wait, we would never have met.”
I smiled. Nay, I beamed. He would never have been on that bus to see her walking to the dance hall they would both ultimately meet in. She was not even planning to go out dancing that night and, if her friend had not dragged her out, she would not have been walking on that sidewalk for him to spot.
She concluded, “You know, I think that there is someone out there for everyone. That some people are just meant to be together and that things work out so that they can be. Soul mates…”
Do you think soul mates exist? Have you met yours?