On Soulmates and Free Will

One day, whether you
are 14,
or 65

you will stumble upon
someone who will start
a fire in you that cannot die.

However, the saddest,
most awful truth
you will ever come to find––

is they are not always
with whom we spend our lives.

-Beau Taplin, "The Awful Truth"

A friend shared this on Facebook today, and it spoke to my soul. Although the passage doesn't specifically mention soulmates, it seems obvious to me that's the meaning.

Soulmates - a subject I think nearly everyone has an opinion about. They exist. They don't exist. They are really rare... Hollywood gives us great insight on the subject, and the conventional definition speaks to lovers, romantic relationships, to love eternal. For me, that definition doesn't consider the whole of the human experience.

Soulmates are not the same for each pair. To me, soulmates simply seem to understand each other on a deeper, more primal level. The souls can commune with one another, a rare gift that has been lost in the evolution of human intelligence.

Sometimes, soulmates become life mates. They meet and fall madly in love and spend their years building and savoring a life and a romantic relationship. 

Sometimes, soulmates are found in the context of friendships. Platonic relationships, same gender or not, where two spirits just get each other. Some of these relationships last a life time. Sometimes life or circumstances cause these soulmates to drift apart, and sometimes they transform into romantic relationships.

Sometimes, soulmates aren't destined for each other. The souls seemed twinned, but the personalities clash, or the circumstances are too tough, or the timing just isn't right. These pairs find each other, and are only fated to spend a short time together. Often, some great life truth is learned from the time spent together. Often, the hurt and heartache is immense.

I'm so thankful I don't share my life with the person I once called my soulmate. We came to know each other at a young, tumultuous time, and shared an intense connection, the kind that can only be souls speaking. A connection so strong that we hurt each other over and over, until the hurt was so overwhelming the relationship couldn't survive.

I'm so thankful the man I share my life with is not my soulmate, not someone predestined for me. Rather, we've made a choice, a decision, to nurture and grow our relationship. To have a deep and fulfilling connection, and to savor the beautiful moments when our souls connect, transcending the human consciousness and creating a bond that is more powerful because we built it. I'm so thankful I don't take that gift, that link, for granted.

I'm sometimes sad I tried to make a soulmate my everything, because choosing my own everything is so much sweeter. There's a sense of great pride in looking at our relationship and knowing it works, knowing it is deep, meaningful, and soulful, because we work hard and because we are intentional in our loving each other. 

As I write this, the man who is my everything and I are preparing to celebrate eleven years together. We haven't always loved each other the way we should, and our story has its share of sorrow and heartache. This chapter, though, this chapter is sweet, and I can't wait to pen the rest of the story.


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