the trouble of denying ‘the one’

From a Christian perspective in the 21st century, admitting that there is such thing as a ‘soulmate’ is being increasingly seen as a dangerous faux-pas that can lead to complications for one’s faith: what if I never find ‘the one?’ or what if I marry someone and realize they aren’t ‘the one?’. These are not simple moral issues to navigate, but our preoccupation with concrete, practical solutions has driven us too far from the beauty and enchantment found in love and throughout all of life itself.

A recent example of this that sparked my urge to respond, was Margaret Philbrick’s “The Trouble with Finding ‘The One'” published in Relevant Magazine. My problem with this perspective is that it offers a rigid and bland image of human life. I certainly see the hope and truth that it offers, but I can’t help but feel that Margaret’s advice and general viewpoints deny the beauty, mystery, and enchantment that truly exist throughout the human experience. And this enchantment I have seen in a very familiar place—my own story.

“The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.”

Once upon a time, there was a girl roaming the halls of a quaint, private college. She had been going through a particularly lonely and soul-searching time and dated a bit along the way. Most of the relationships during this time had failed, mostly due to her inability to feel the kind of love she wanted to feel. She began to fear her future and what her love life would look like, but she found contentment with the idea of being alone.

There was this boy who always seemed to follow her around and she began to be comforted by his presence. She liked that he liked her but she was sad that she would never feel that same way about him. One day, he finally worked up the courage to ask her to coffee and she turned him down…

Well, a couple of days later they went to coffee with the intention of staying friends. As they began to talk, they found out that they grew up with the same rare family and friend dynamics. She shared how she grew up with two (much older) half-brothers, one was her mother’s son and one was her father’s and she met my best friend in first grade. He laughed and then shared that he grew up with two (much older) half-sisters, one was his mother’s daughter and one was his father’s. He had also met his best friend in kindergarten and his name was Jon Wilson. She thought he was playing some kind of joke to prove that they were perfect for each other because her best friend’s name was Jess Wilson.

It was all quite comedic and rather enchanting but she was not intending to fall in love with him. After a couple more friend dates, she was head over heels and never looked back for a second. It was the kind of love of which she had always dreamed, but the world told her it wasn’t possible. And they now live happily—and will continue to—forever after. She met her soulmate.

Maybe that made it better and easier for me: to not expect it and settle for much less. Although I can’t say it made my childhood or young adulthood easier not having believed in the power of magic and enchantment. It was not until I met him that I saw how God could work in miracles even in the ordinary parts of life that many of us have given up on. I have always believed that His will would be done no matter what, but I now believe that we have been limiting Him far too much. Just because humans are flawed doesn’t mean that magic isn’t real. Life won’t be perfect quite yet but it can be far more beautiful than you ever imagined.

“As you walk into Starbucks to meet the potential person for the first time, approach them with open-hearted faith, rather than a list of criteria you expect them to fulfill.”

Margaret is right, and her insights necessary, but if you truly feel called by faith into this life of beauty and enchantment don’t expect or accept dullness from the world just because you believe you have to. The world is a beautiful place that is filled with wonder. Please don’t stop looking for it.

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6 thoughts on “the trouble of denying ‘the one’

    1. Thanks for responding, but I’m not entirely sure what you mean. You mentioned ‘modern idea of a soulmate’, but I just don’t believe our society has the tools to process life this way anymore. Our idea of soulmate is comparable to a superhero: it is a great idea and makes for a nice story, but it just doesn’t exist. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this.

  1. In this modern world, it can be truly difficult to accept the idea of soulmate. Especially under the concept of “boy meets girl” by chance. I started talking to a man through a dating website – i know i know, modern and desperate and taking the magic out of a chance meeting someone. I was very hesitant in meeting this man, I walked into the coffee shop (a Starbucks, HA), sat down and thought, this will not be how I meet my soulmate. This is not how I want to tell people I met the love of my life.

    So we chatted, and I left expecting to brush him aside, while I waited for that chance meeting with a stranger to occur. And then we met again, and again, and again. We discovered we had the same morals, we grew up with the same family values, we both had the same humor, we both had goals, we both want to live in the country. Then came the ‘coincidences,’ of how I went to a hockey oriented college with a ‘cadet’ mascot, and he was the captain of a hockey team ‘the cadets’ or how we both had the same 4 digit code on our phones. Do you want to know what the chances of having the same exact 4 digit code is? 1 in 10000. That’s a .0001% chance. There were more, but I didn’t need the ‘coincidences’ or signs to tell me that I was madly in love with this man. He is truly my soulmate, and we chose each other, taking a chance on a percent match rating that happened to be accurate.

    We may have started out through modern technology, bringing us together through programming mechanisms – but we are still together through that magic of human interaction and faith.

    Great piece!

    1. Wow, thank you for sharing that. I see a lot of my own story in yours.

      I think finding that one ‘perfect’ person online is just as rare and unique as meeting them on the street. The fact that it was online doesn’t invalidate any the magic and chance involved at all. Meeting a stranger and falling in love is just not a common story because we can’t just meet and fall in love with strangers, especially when none of us ever talk to strangers very often. We are private, skeptical, untrusting, and have no idea if they could possibly be in a relationship or not.

      I never thought the idea of high school sweethearts was that ideal, having been through high school and thankful I never stayed with any of them, but I met a couple recently who got married and they knew each other since they were in grade school. The girl drew a picture of her and this boy when she was very young and just learning how to spell and wrote underneath that she would marry him…and she did. I mean it’s so simple but seemingly impossible at the same time.

      I love your story and the more I think about our “limitations” in technology and a modern society, I begin to understand how a true love story could never be ruined or limited by anything. Thank you for sharing!

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