Joy

girls-holding-hands-bwYou were the tall oak to my tiny birch,
Strong and confident while I shed my skin,
Sanctity poured from you, your soul a church,
Always one, unafraid to spill our sin;
Fear was a stranger as you blocked the hate,
Stood up with conviction for me always,
While others blocked their eyes, showed their true traits,
I need not glance, for their eyes were stark hallways;
Years later I look to you for wisdom,
We walked different paths but remain as one,
You hold my hand, your words give me freedom!
“Let go; there is no light left in his sun.”
Life gives small mercies, you give so much more,
My friend, I stand, our arms laced evermore.

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Soulmates?

Johnny & June - definitely soulmates.

Johnny & June – as depicted in film and in real life – were definitely soulmates.

My good friend E and I had a running discussion that lasted for several years about whether soulmates actually existed. I believe they do, she believes they do not.

When she and I met I was single and she was -and still is – married. We taught together at the same school. During one “ice-breaker” activity on the first inservice day, we had to share what our favorite book was. She and I both answered Catcher in the Rye. From that point on, I knew we were meant to be friends for life.

I don’t remember exactly how the subject of soulmates came up, but I would imagine that I was waxing poetically about how I desired to meet mine: The One, someone I couldn’t live without, someone who was connected to me by our souls. Not missing a beat she said, “There is no such thing as a soulmate.”

I was shocked. My friend ,who felt the same way as me about one of the most resounding and memorable characters in literature (Holden was innocent, kind, confused, cynical and ultimately romantic), actually didn’t believe in soulmates? How is that even possible?

She explained, after I forced my mouth closed, “that there is not one single person out there for everybody.” She continued to say you meet people by chance. If you find qualities you like in that person and find them attractive, then there you go. There was no mystical universe plotting and planning our love lives.

Yes, dear reader, I do agree, in a world with billions of people, there may be more than one person suited for us, one that we connect with on a higher level. And most likely we can have more than one soulmate. It could be a friend or a lover. Here’s one definition of soulmate from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of SOULMATE

1: a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament

2: a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs <ideological soul mates>

Now, a less academic definition from Urban Dictionary:

A soulmate is someone you have a very deep connection. It is not always easy explained. It is a meeting of mind, heart, body and soul on the highest of levels. Communication is at its easiest, as they understand you perfectly, and accept you completely with no judgments.

E’s husband is a lovely man – smart, funny, successful, athletic, has a great taste in music, is complimentary and kind – but he is not E’s soulmate. I would suspect this is why she doesn’t believe in them (nor does he, by the way). They have a normal, imperfect, functioning marriage with three beautiful children. Are they right for each other? They seem to be just fine. I don’t know if there was ever any fire or passion in their relationship, but they both have very “chill” temperaments, so I don’t know if they are those kind of people. Not that they aren’t intelligent and deep, because they are, but they don’t necessarily have that fire in their soul – at least not when it comes to love. I would say they are comfortable.

Soulmate love is not a comfortable kind of love. In fact, it can be quite difficult. Because soulmates are very alike in very many ways. So, if there is something you don’t like about yourself, that quality will probably annoy the hell out of you in the other person. He knows how to push your buttons, and you know how to push his. But of course it is also amazingly beautiful because you feel connected, you feel that someone finally gets you and you can talk and talk for hours. You’re best friends. There is passion. There is someone who believes in you and you believe in him right back. He or she is the missing puzzle piece in your life.

I included the picture from Walk the Line because, well, I love that movie, and because Johnny Cash and June Carter are a great example of soulmates. Both were musical, passionate, talented, stubborn and completely and whole-heartedly in love. Everything was bigger with them. So, there were years of difficulties, but they stayed together and understood one another and were deeply in love. They were best friends. They respected one another and wrote songs together and performed together. They were cut from the same cloth. They were partners in crime.

A passionate-best friend-amazing lover-intellectual equal-cheerleader-inspirer-muse-type relationship isn’t what everyone aspires for. And that’s okay. But I have experienced a soulmate relationship. Sadly, for a million different reasons, it ended. Happily, we’re still friends. Incidentally, I was a teenager when we dated and had no clue about a lot of things. Life is certainly a great teacher and I didn’t realize what I had until….well, you know the rest. So, I know what I want and I know what my soul craves. While I don’t agree with E’s stance on soulmates, I do hope she’s right about there being more than one person out there for everyone.