Our meeting was more than destiny… it was improbable yet miraculous. Both far away from our homes, in an ancient land surrounded by hundreds of tourists paying homage at a holy site dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Her small stone home was perched on a hilltop where she lived the last years of her life — also historically marking her last place of rest. The hot Turkish morning sun was beating down upon us before we even knew of each other’s existence. Upon exiting the house and taking in the surroundings, I felt someone staring at me and I turned around.
Almost five and a half years ago, I met the individual that altered the purpose and course of my life. Up until that point, I focused all of my energy on my studies, which then lead me to a successful career. My time wasn’t my own — when I wasn’t working, I visited my family, occasionally saw my friends, and continuously sought ways to quiet an over-active mind.
I was in my first and only relationship that spanned over 10 years that included a couple of break-ups before getting back together. I knew deep down he wasn’t the right person for me, but days turned into months and months turned into years. We grew up together, but more so grew apart. Although I have gratitude for our shared time, we simply weren’t well paired. I stayed because I was scared to hurt him and felt responsible to help him. I resigned myself to thinking that no one else would love me, and most of all, the idea of starting over with someone new was absolutely daunting.
I thought I had to settle for the life that was presented to me. One that had many blessings, but one that didn’t truly fulfill me. I hoped to quiet the inner voice that all along was trying to help me free myself. The universe gives us exactly what it is we don’t want — only to reveal what it is we do. It also gives us opportunities to follow its lead and guides us to reach our highest potential and destiny. But ultimately it’s our choice to follow the cues and let it unfold in its natural way.
On the day of my 26th birthday, my mother, cousin, and I embarked on a journey that would change me forever. Although I was resistant to go on this trip, I still went. We took a one-week Eastern Mediterranean cruise and enjoyed the antiquity and beauty of the diverse ports of call. But the excursion we all looked forward to was that of visiting the Blessed Virgin Mary’s house in Ephesus. On a radiant summer morning, my true life’s path began — all told through the gentle smile and profound stare of man who awaited me.
The universe divinely intervened on both of our behalves unbeknownst to us. But now that we know, we have been walking our respective paths and one together in the most beautiful yet challenging of ways. Two different cultures, languages, life experiences, time frames, along with many years of distance between us from New York to Italy, has shown what we have in common: compatibility of our hearts and minds. We run at the “same temperature” and have soulfully recognized each other from the very start. However, it is only now that we are learning to recognize ourselves.
Needless to say, we don’t know how the future unfolds, but we can sure shape our present experiences in the direction that feels right and what we know is good for us. All of us are destined for something so unique to learn and accomplish throughout the duration of our lifetimes here on earth. Through self-awareness and trust, we can become attuned to our life’s purpose. And if we never truly understand what that purpose is, that’s ok, too. It will just happen as you live it.