Deb: There is someone in my life whom I have loved for as long as I can remember. This person happens to be one of the kindest people I have ever known. She has been that way all her life. I am not going to say who as I do not want to invade her privacy to the world. Some may know who I am referring to, but that’s okay because they know her story.
The phrase “late bloomer” comes to mind when I think of her. She has always been very bright, very attractive, and very skilled. The one constant win she has had in her life has been her job, which she loves and which she is good at. The rest of her life has been fraught with challenges. When I say challenges I mean that she has had unfortunate and consistent bad luck. Beyond bad luck. Heartbreaking misfortune.
She suffered in an emotionally abusive marriage for years that she struggled to make work until she could no longer ignore the obvious. She did not want to make a move away from the marriage because of her children and their very special needs. Finally she realized that it must be done for all their sakes and so she ended the long marriage. Each time I saw her deal with huge adversity, I would marvel at her absolute lack of judgment, vengefulness, or self-pity. She seemed always to be able to deal with everything with grace. Even in the middle of extremely trying times, she would infuse beauty into the sadness or ugliness she was ploughing through. She has inherited this grace through her Mother, long gone and missed but who had enough grace to see her through the long life she did not get to have.
When my friend settled into her new life, she found her way to online dating, and I am sure endured some naysaying around that. I think online dating is a great way to replace meeting someone at the church social. So she went for it, and she did have to kiss a few frogs who, unfortunately, refused to turn into Princes. One night when we were having dinner, the memory of her last frog fresh in her mind, we discussed the subject of her continuing with online dating. This was when I saw the best example of her spirit. She said hell, yeah, she would keep going. She told me that she wanted romance and that she deserved romance and she was holding firm to the idea that someone was out there for her. She was right.
After many years, she has found him. And he has found her. It is a stunning relationship. They have a new bright happy home and a wedding a few months away at which I will dance with joy. I never would have thought my friend could acquire more grace than she already possessed. I didn’t count on her loving fiancé adding his.
Happily ever after.
Barbara: I do love stories like this, Deb! Thanks so much for sharing it. When you reach a certain age, you see your fair share of romance-gone-bad, which, for some reason seems harsher and more frustrating than when you’re young and it feels more like it’s “part and parcel” and/or “just a matter of time”. It’s tough to listen to friends go through the whole dating/bad marriage thing, online or off, and wade through frog after frog after frog (yes, there are female frogs, too). And, of course, frogs are also relative.
So it’s a relief to be reminded that, if you are open to the journey, if you are bright and ready for it, ready for heartache, heartbreak, helplessness, and hell (not “literally” ready, but not scared off at the very whiff of it), you will also find yourself available to joy and discovery and connection and love. It CAN happen. Because relationships, even the great ones, aren’t effortless, so you might as well get some practice out on the field, know what I mean?
Even if I’m not in the dating pool, this is still a refreshing and positive example for me to share with my friends who are. Yay, love!