You know those Facebook questionnaires that come around—the ones that ask if you have a tattoo, been to Africa, spent a night in jail, that kind of thing? A recent one (to me, anyway) asked if you’ve had a near-death experience. No tattoos (ouch!), yes to Africa, no nights in jail, but perhaps a near-death experience has crossed my path.
No, I didn’t get seriously sick or injured where I flatlined and saw my long-gone parents or my dog Mystic or anything like that. I was driving down the 10 freeway in LA heading to Agape one Sunday morning. I was behind a large, green van and in front of a huge, white pickup. I don’t ordinarily take note of the vehicles around me, let alone what color they are, but I did that day.
Something—or someone—inside my head said, “Change lanes right now.” I looked in my left-hand rear-view mirror and saw a car barreling down that lane, so I was going to wait until it passed. Whoever was talking inside my head had quite a sense of humor, because s/he then said, “This isn’t the time to be polite; change lanes right now.”
I did, much to the chagrin of the driver of that barreling car, who had to change lanes to avoid hitting me. Immediately after that, the green van stopped short because there was a large crate in that lane. The white pickup truck SLAMMED into it. My little Prius would probably have been two feet long after that.
I drove merrily along without thinking much about that, until I turned onto the 405 South. And then…“Whhaaaaaaaaaaat?”
To anyone who’s read my book Angels on Overtime, this scene might seem a little familiar—it’s how Jack and Emily meet. Actually, more of the book is true than you might think.
Take, for instance, when Jack writes out a list of forty things that he wants in his next—and last—wife. My before-he-was-my-husband did that and I was 39-1/2 things out of 40. The list was one-third spiritual, one-third emotional/intellectual, and one-third physical. And he was specific: at peace with her world; blue eyes that sparkle; between 5’10” and 6’ (I’m 5’11”); long, long legs (he didn’t just say long legs; he said long, long legs – and I have a 36” inseam). Plus there was well-read, intelligent, spiritual—things like that. The last thing on his list was “she has her own list and I meet all of her criteria.” I did and he did and still does. I listed spiritual powerhouse, family man, tall and built…just a few minor details.
When I was calling my husband in, I went full feng shui on the situation….I always had two roses and two red candles in the relationship corner of my house, my bedroom, and my office at work. I even had Barbie and Ken in their wedding attire! (I read somewhere about someone doing that and thought it was a great idea.)
When my sisters were helping my dad pack up our childhood home, they donated my Barbie case (with Barbie, Ken, Skipper, and even a Little Kiddle—remember those?—and a full closet of Barbie’s sixties clothes, including a Mary Tyler Moore style hat and even ice skates) to the local Methodist Church for a tag sale.
“You gave away my Barbie?”
“Ann,” my sister said, trying to contain her shock, because I’m not known as someone who holds on to things, “you wanted to keep your Barbie?”
They got her and her little family back from the Methodists. Who knew Barbie and Ken would come in so handy?
I moved from a tiny hippie town on the Northern California coast to…Topeka, Kansas! And did I mention he had two teenagers? But when we came together, we meshed so well it was practically unbelievable. I got the idea for Angels from thinking about a crazy conversation that a hapless, hard-working team of angels would have had trying to get the two of us together—across many miles and around some very strange situations.
We could’ve both dismissed that seemingly crazy hit to sign up for eH. I could’ve said that I wasn’t leaving my little hippie town.
Just FYI, would you like to know what wedding present eHarmony sends matches who get married? A crystal bowl from Tiffany’s—at least that’s what they sent us. I’ll never forget my surprise and delight at opening that brown package to find that blue Tiffany’s box inside.
I’ve heard that we should always hold on to our dreams, but let go of the how and what they’ll look like. That about sums it all up. Then there’s this, too—as shown above, my latest meme quotes a line from my book Angels on Overtime: “You don’t have to look for love. Love is what you look with.”
We definitely held on to the dream of true love, and we let go of how and what it’d look like. (Kansas? Really?) The love that each of us looked with allowed us to receive the love that was waiting for us.
Here’s the rest of that particular quote:
Just for the record, you’re wrapped in the arms of love when you’re born, you’re wrapped in the arms of love when you die, you’re wrapped in the arms of love now, you’re wrapped in the arms of love always. You don’t need to look for love. Love is what you look with. It’s all that you are. Love of another is just the recognition of this love. Just sayin’.