The other day I was really moved by a story a seventy year old woman told me when I asked her how she and her husband got together. I asked her if their love story was fate or ‘written in the stars’ since I have a tendency to romanticize things but I was surprised to learn that their story was full of obstacles and hurdles.
She told me that all the odds were against them, their parents didn’t bless their marriage and didn’t approve of her husband. He was just getting out of college and had no money whatsoever to start a family but she was convinced that she couldn’t be with anyone else. They literally fought for their love and decided to get married anyway no matter what it took or how many bridges they burned. I later asked her if she had any regrets marrying him or if it would have been easier picking someone her parents actually approved of, but she said that the only decision she would have truly regretted is not marrying him. She said he was a risky choice but the best choice. Fifty years later, they’re still in love and choosing each other every single day.
This story really got me rethinking this whole idea of ‘meant to be.’ I’m a big believer in fate, timing and how things that are meant for you will find you but I never thought about how ‘meant to be’ really unfolds or the different shapes it could take.
Maybe ‘meant to be’ is not a one-time thing, maybe it’s not all on the universe, maybe there is more than one ‘meant to be’ and so it becomes our choice. Maybe we actually have a say in how this ‘meant to be’ plays out or in the direction it takes.
Because what if what’s meant for you is right in front of you but you’re not doing anything to grasp it, you’re not doing anything to claim it. If you’re too complacent waiting for the universe to align everything so perfectly before you make your move, you’re ‘meant to be’ might elude you.
Maybe the universe’s job stops right when they present us with what we were looking for and then it becomes our choice whether to take it or leave it. It becomes our job to choose it and keep choosing it over and over again. Think of it as teamwork, not a one man’s job.
Maybe ‘meant to be’ doesn’t mean that the everything is perfectly aligned and the timing is great and the circumstances are perfect, maybe it means that everything is actually far from perfect but we’re choosing to fight for it. We’re rolling with the punches because we think it’s worth it. Maybe fate brings us closer to what we really want effortlessly but there’s still a lot of effort we need to put in if we want to make it happen or make it ours.
Maybe ‘meant to be’ is something we have to earn not something that just falls into our laps.
I kept thinking what if that couple listened to their parents and gave up on each other or just decided to take the easy way out, how will their lives have turned out? Will they still be happily married at seventy or will they be miserable, always looking back on the one person they truly wanted but didn’t end up with?
Their story may be an exception but it got me rethinking what ‘meant to be’ really means, and it made sense, relationships are not easy and they require a lot of discipline, dedication and effort to make them work or make them grow.
And while choosing to fight for one’s lover, or be with someone against all odds, or stay with someone when things are far from perfect may not be a classic case of ‘meant to be,’ it’s still a powerful story of commitment. A true story of choosing each other when you could be with anyone else. And that beats any ‘meant to be’ in my book. It’s the epitome of true commitment. The epitome of true love.