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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Blake Garner

Soul mates.

I have such a wonderful husband. He is so kind to me, even though I’m temperamental. He’s supportive of whatever I decide to work on. He puts up with a house full of rescue kitties and foster kitties, in addition to my 12 year old doggie, Annie. I feel as though I’ve known him for forever...or at least for a few lifetimes. (another blog) Dan and I met somewhere around 1999-2000. He says that we met at the Christian Service telethon, but my recollection is that we met a little before that. He says that he saw me walking down the hall at the television station. I say that he and his then-wife came to an open mike, one Sunday night at the Burning Spear, where I introduced myself to them, and he blew me off - didn’t even turn his head to answer me. They’d just played at one of the casinos, and he looked bored and perhaps even, a little drunk. He doesn’t remember that. My husband (the father of my four children) and I had split in 1999, but our divorce didn’t come through until 2001. These were some very unhappy and unstable years for me. My children were quite small, and since we’d moved to the area in 1996, and I’ve always been a homebody, I knew very few people. I felt very isolated. Unfortunately, I attracted some unsavory characters during this time.

My interaction with Dan and his wife led me to feel that I didn’t particularly like them. They seemed to need to be noticed all the time. They made loud entrances, and wanted to be on stage if they showed up at anybody’s gigs. But at some point, Dan started asking me to join them in their performances. I got to play some pretty cool gigs, even though I hardly knew anyone, all because Dan invited me. I appreciated it very much, and as I spent more time with them, I grew to like both of them. Then a couple of years into this scenario, they announced that they would be divorcing, but that they would remain friends and continue to perform together. I was sorry for them. Not long after, when we were attending a benefit for someone local, I told Dan how sorry I was about his divorce. He was telling me that he didn’t like my song City of the Dead (written about Shreveport) because it was “too negative”. (I still stand by every word of that song) He then informed me that he wanted me to be his next wife. I was taken aback. But he was drunk (something the two of them had become infamous for), so I laughed and said that if I ever got married again, I wanted it to be forever. He said “me too”. End of that. I tried to pretend the exchange never happened. It was awkward. Over the next few years, Dan had a very sweet girlfriend, one that I liked very much. She seemed like a very nice person. But she often said “I don’t know when Dan is finally going to marry me!” I was in a terrible relationship - one that lasted off and on for ten years - (that’s another story) but I felt like Dan was a friend and would have liked to have seen him happy. He’d taken his divorce pretty hard, and he’s the kind of guy who likes to be in a committed relationship. Add to this the fact that he would come to my gigs, buy me drinks (which I couldn’t have, because I had to drive home to my very young children) and just generally hang around and tell me that my boyfriend was a jerk and that I should dump him. He was right about that part - but his hanging around me when he had a girlfriend who wanted to marry him bothered me. Out of nowhere during this time, he was introduced to another woman - and promptly married her. He even called me on his wedding day (though I didn’t know until later that it had been his wedding day) just to say hi. I hadn’t seen much of him, because we usually only ran into each other at songwriter or open mike events. I didn’t even know he’d met somebody new. The girlfriend was left brokenhearted, and for years - every time I ran into her - she would recount how Dan tried to break up with her over the phone, after a three year relationship. He didn’t come out looking like a very nice man. (On that note, I cringe at the thought of her knowing that I ended up marrying was the farthest thing from my mind in those days.)

I was not in love with Dan. I was not attracted to Dan in “that way”. But I could see that through it all, he really was a kind person. He was so loving with his children. And he never had a bad word to say about his ex-wives (he had two at the time). I appreciated how encouraging he was to me, every time we ran into each other - and that he would give people my contact info if it looked like there was a good opportunity for me. I remember saying to one of my sisters - “I wish I could meet a guy like Dan” - because he always seemed so happy to see me. He was so upbeat and encouraging. I didn’t know anybody else like that. As it turned out, the marriage was not what he’d hoped it would be. I hadn’t seen him in years when he called out of the blue to ask me to play a benefit with him for a local dog park. We were facebook friends, so I’d seen what he was up to, and he appeared to be very happy. As we’ve all come to know, just because things look great on facebook, doesn’t mean life is a bed of roses, a pleasure cruise….

For the first time in years, we were spending quite a bit of time together. I will skip, for the sake of brevity, all the events over the course of a couple of years that led us to where we are now. (because that’s another story) We’ve now been together nine years. For me, it has flown by. We’ve had our ups and downs, but the downs have been few and far between. Life is comfortable. He is easy to be with. As I said at the beginning of this very long story, he is kind to me, even though I’m temperamental and opinionated. He is extremely generous.

But soul mates? I once believed in the idea of soul mates. I wanted one sooooo bad. If there were such a thing, then I think perhaps Dan and I would qualify. I am comfortable with him in a way that I’m not with anyone else. I get little glimpses here and there, that make me wonder if we recognized some kind of kindred spirits in each other, even though we in fact, have very little in common besides our love for the Beatles. It does feel as though it was somehow planned that we would be together. But...a world in which people are looking for their other halves, their lost soul mates, would be a very unhappy and unjust place. What about the people who don’t find anyone they can relate to? What about the people who’ve lost their beloved spouses? Are they doomed to be alone forever, because their soul mate has moved on to the next life? That doesn’t seem fair. That doesn’t seem like what a kind and loving God would foist upon us. I am all but certain that if I leave this world before Dan does, he will be remarried in a short period of time. It doesn’t bother me at all. I want him to be happy. I want him to be able to continue to share his love and his humour, and not be alone, just because my time came first. If we’re all on our journeys back to our Creator, it isn’t right for one soul to expect another soul to wait around so that they can continue at the same pace. I remember when I was learning to read, that it was very frustrating when the teacher would have students read out loud. I had already read the whole page, but I wasn’t allowed to turn the page, because the person reading out loud was a slow reader. I hate that I sound so mean when I recount this. But if I felt *that* frustrated over something so small - imagine not being able to continue on my journey because my “other half” is still on earth. Or vice versa. I’d hate to think that Dan would not be free to go on to his next adventure because he was obligated to wait around until I finished my earthly existence. I am willing to bet that many people have stories of soul mates that they’ve heard about, known personally - or perhaps even, are living with. I am not trying to downplay any great love by saying that perhaps it’s just meant to last for a period of time in this life...that maybe, you won’t cross paths again, for a long time, or maybe never again.

I am simply saying that perhaps it’s not very romantic after all, the idea of having just one chance to get it right in love. If you missed out on that soul mate, you’ll be alone. If your soul mate dies, you must be left alone. If someone you thought was your soul mate doesn’t agree, you lose. I don’t think God sets us up to lose. I think that loving someone very deeply is always a good thing. It doesn’t always work out the way we intended it to - but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be other people who need our love. My parents were married from 1945 until my dad died in 1989. My mother lived until 2012, and she never stopped missing my dad, never stopped talking about him. They complemented each other well. I didn’t mourn as hard when my mother died - because she’d missed my father so much for so long. She wanted to be with him. A large part of my mourning for my father was seeing the hole he left behind in my mother’s life. Were they soul mates? Are they together now? When my mother died, I believed that they were reunited. Perhaps they were. Perhaps my father welcomed her to the other side. Or perhaps he’d moved on to whatever plans God has for us when we leave the earth. I know that either way is for the best. God’s plans make more sense than we can grasp at this stage. I accept that. And I love that I have a best mate who is a beautiful soul. That’s the next best thing to the elusive soul mate.

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