Sometimes in relationships things are just ‘meant to be’

CLARE MARIE CELANO Girl Talk

There’s a Yiddish expression I fell in love with the moment I heard it – beshert. It means “meant to be.” Like karma and serendipity, this phenomenon is nothing less than a message from God. Sometimes beshert comes to us as intimate relationships, friends, lovers, angels even, on our path – the perennial soul mate. These souls come to help us experience a change.

Sometimes they bring us ineffable joy, passion and sweetness; other times, like catalysts, they stir up every wound deep inside us, bringing them to the surface in order to deal with them. I believe soul mates are sent to help us work through the places where we are rough, unforgiving, frightened, insecure, or any other number of wounds we see as our flaws.

Many of us grew up believing when we met our soul mate, life would change for us, and it usually does, but not always in the way we thought it would. It doesn’t always happen according to Plato’s theory of his half meeting yours and everyone living happily ever after. Sometimes the soul mate comes to stay forever; other times like lightning, he or she whisks in and quickly whisks out again. Then, there are the ones who repeatedly appear on your path – exactly when you need them to.

And so it was with me and my beshert, the one I was destined to meet.

We were friends who grew to be so much more. Think Harry and Sally, think Jerry and Elaine, with a little of Ross and Rachel mixed in.

Over the years, he’s moved in and out of my life as if on cue, when the planets aligned in our favor. His relationship with me evolved from friend to mentor, confidant, teacher, lover and best friend.

Our time together was akin to the push and pull of Mother Nature, breathing gentle whispers on a balmy evening, to her vociferous cry as a disastrous hurricane, to the quiet, tranquil space between the whispers, between the thrashing storm – a limbo where nothing is as it seems and where you spend much of your time trying to figure out what’s happening to both of you.

Reflecting on this relationship is a mixed blessing. Remembering the sprinkling of magical fairy dust that two starcrossed friends and lovers shared while aligned for a time is a beautiful thing. Remembering the dawning of the reality of the situation – two friends who loved each other entering into an intimate relationship for reasons we couldn’t even have imagined when we met takes a bit more mettle.

When I first met him after my divorce, I felt I was ready for a relationship. As we moved closer, he worried that I would be hurt, that sharing physical intimacy would jeopardize our friendship.

“I’m a big girl,” I retorted, invisibly flexing the emotional muscles I thought I’d developed. Hindsight is always 20-20. I wasn’t a big girl at all. I was a 50-year-old woman feverishly trying to find my place in the new world I found myself catapulted into – and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

He knew once we crossed those invisible boundaries from friendship to intimacy, our relationship, and therefore how we saw each other would change.

I didn’t.

And he was right. Everything did change. Maybe Billy Crystal was right when he told Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, you can’t have a close friendship with a woman, at least not one you’re attracted to.

Nonetheless, what was meant to be, happened, and we evolved into an on-again, off-again, soulful, passionate, intimate experience. And strangely enough there are no regrets.

Still, the emptiness of the reality that it is over cuts me deeply. But the more I come to see life for what it is – a way to grow and move toward what makes us whole – the more I understand why we were together.

Looking back, I can see that for every quality I had, he had one vastly different. For a time, we mixed, we blended, we gelled, much like one of those pretty bar drinks. But sometimes, left unstirred, those drinks separate, leaving a glob of unrecognizable goop. And so it was with us.

There were areas where we fit like hand in glove. I chose not to see the areas that had oceans between them. It didn’t matter. I found myself under a spell, and like a drug, it rendered me powerless. Suddenly, I didn’t have the sense God gave a grasshopper. I attached myself to the fantasy and to him, and could not let go.

Eventually, I had to face the possibility that maybe what we had was never meant to be permanent. Like hair color, it was not the kind that grows out – more like the kind that fades a bit after every shampoo, a temporary glow of dazzling lights, a little glitter for special occasions.

Once the dust settled, I had time to realize that there was something not quite right, even from the beginning – too many holes in the foundation. But if you don’t love like you’ll never be hurt, you’ll never feel the magic. You need to fall into it to feel the walls crumble.

Maybe a smarter woman would have turned away from a relationship that never promised a future, only a present; then again, the present is all we really have, isn’t it? And the more years you witness passing you by, the more you come to realize this.

I believe authors such as Marianne Williamson and Cheryl Richardson when they say that souls on our path have specific assignments to complete. Like a constellation of stars, we all arrive on cue to begin our journey to wholeness. Richardson calls them “spiritual change agents.”

His connection with me, and to me, helped me grow in ways I didn’t even realize needed stretching.

Sometimes I think Williamson is right when she says God plays “cupid” and mesmerizes two souls with each other for a bit just to get them together. “We’ll give them about two weeks and then we have to get down to work,” she says, pretending she is the voice of God.

Some men are sent to us to teach us how to love ourselves, not by indulging us in our fantasies, but by fighting them tooth and nail, thereby becoming the conduit that allows us to learn to care for and love ourselves. All relationships hold lessons, even the ones that end – perhaps especially the ones that end, the ones that cause us the most pain.

My lessons were many. Among them I learned to give and receive love with grace and without agenda or expectation and to be vulnerable and reveal my true feelings. I lived in the present moment, without being attached to the outcome.

Spiritual graces, I believe, come in many forms. Some are even disguised as handsome hunks wearing blue jeans.

Clare Marie Celano is a staff writer for Greater Media Newspapers. She can be reached at ccelano@gmnews.com.