I’ve been thinking a lot about soul mates. My understanding of soul mates is a broad definition, and not limited to romantic partnerships. I was in a class about this subject last week and during a workshop, we were asked to rank how much we love the people in our life. It isn’t as cutthroat as I make it sound, it was the final step in a longish workshop, but still…I was not so happy to see that a few of my relationships were lower than I thought they would be, and I was forced to pause and ask myself why. I realized, with one friend particularly, that I was judging a situation she is going through and I was, by default, judging her.
I would say today that this friendship is a true soul mate relationship. She presses my buttons. I get wildly frustrated with her personality quirks sometimes. I allow her opinions to ruffle my feathers. It’s funny, too, because often our opinions are the same. There’s just something about the way she expresses herself that I am left feeling inadequate somehow. But when I think about her with love in my heart and eyes that see the good, I know why she is in my life as such a key player. She is creative and loving and open-minded. She is funny and happy, and best of all, I know that I drive her nuts sometimes too and she sees all of my positive qualities despite my foibles. And I know she is in my life to help me do my spiritual work. We weren’t immediately friends even. It took us years to bond. But once we did, it was like finding a new piece of home. I just love her.
She came to visit me after the birth of my son, a little less than a year ago. I knew at the time that she was thinking about leaving her husband, but I hadn’t heard it from her directly, so I was clinging to hope that it was just a rough patch. We’ve been couple friends for almost 20 years, so “picking sides” isn’t something I was or am willing to do. I had gotten an earful from her husband about the changes that were coming, but still – denial. I just couldn’t imagine them not together. I just couldn’t see it. But she sat with me in my garage that day, after holding my newborn and sharing mom talk – it was happening. Divorce, or separation at the least, was imminent.
So, the other night I sat staring at my paper with her name and the lower-than-I-realized number on the scale next to it and thought about all of this. And I asked myself some tough questions, because I couldn’t really place the reason for there to be separation between us. I pretty quickly realized that I’m not upset with her about wanting a new life, or falling out of love, or trying to recreate a story that is well underway. She hasn’t actually hurt me at all. Divorce is awkward for outside parties. It’s awkward for the people who are close to those going through it because no one knows how to do it. Not the friends who want to be supportive, not the people going through it – none of us are really prepared. We do our best, but we’re mostly just winging it.
Through asking myself some tough questions, I realized the problem was me. While I didn’t set out to do so, I can see that there is a part of me that’s judging the situation. I judge things I hear or see without understanding the bigger picture. I guess I thought that I had their situation figured out because I have such a long history of friendship with both of them. But even with 20 years of experience, and the late-night conversations I’ve had with both sides, I can see that I have a limited perspective. I don’t really know why this is part of their path together, but it is. I don’t have the ability to see the whole entire movie play out before me, so I have judged and made conclusions in my head about what I think is truth. And I know that even though this is a soul mate friendship, I only see what each of them choose to show me. I don’t see what happens after the children go to bed and the door is closed and the gloves come off. I’m not a fly on the wall.
I was sort of shocked after this class, to be honest. And I was shocked at my own level of arrogance to think that I know how things “should” be or play out. I woke up the next morning humbled and aware that maybe I hadn’t been such a great friend because I had my own agenda running under the radar for so long. I decided I would give her a call when I got off of work later that day, but like a true soul mate, she beat me to it. She felt my energy and called early in the morning just to say she missed me. I heard her voice and just felt better. I had missed her too. I was able to just listen while she caught me up on the process she’s going through and to tell her that I love her. For the first time maybe ever, I don’t even think I offered her any advice. I just listened with an open heart and the understanding that I do not know the whole story. I hope I shared with a little less of an agenda.
I don’t feel any separation between us as I write this. I’m so glad she called.