There are times in my life when it seems so clear that I am just a passenger in a car that God is driving. On these journeys, I feel safe and comforted. And then there are the times when I feel that God has left me alone to navigate life's dangerous roads on my own. That's when I have to remember to wait, have faith and look in the rearview mirror.
When I first became observant at the age of 32, I was filled with faith in God and hope for my future. I knew that, along with the career change I was making from the film industry to Jewish education, I would soon meet my soul mate and life would be great. But as the years went on and my new career took off in wonderful ways with great teaching jobs, I still was alone. Many of my friends decided to move to the East coast to find their spouses, but I could not be persuaded. I loved my day school job too much, I was part of a great community with many friends, and as shallow as it sounds, I loved the incredible LA weather! I just wasn't going to leave.
And so, like many singles, I continually poured my heart out to God, tried to have faith, and waited and waited. Surely, God would reward me for all my dedication and hard work, right?
Five very long and lonely years later, at the age of 37, it finally happened -- I met the man of my dreams.
Five very long and lonely years later, at the age of 37, it finally happened -- I met the man of my dreams. He happened to live in another state, the one I grew up in, the one that my parents still lived in. So, when he asked me to marry him, I was ecstatic! In spite of the cold winter, I made a commitment to move to where he lived. I also made the very difficult decision to leave my beloved job and students in the middle of the year, give up my great apartment, say goodbye to my friends and begin packing. With the wedding invitations out, I spent my evenings envisioning and planning my new, exciting future. But I didn't envision or plan what would happen next…
Out of the blue, one night about a week before my move, and less than a month before our big day, my fiancé telephoned me to call off the wedding. He said the most devastating words I've ever heard: "I don't love you." And this, after I had received the most effusive, gushy love note by e-mail the night before.
I thought my world had ended and I would never be happy again. I wanted to understand why God had put this person in my life, if only to bring me such unhappiness.
After a deep mourning period, I tried to assess my situation and see if maybe God had some strange plan for me. Here's what I came up with: I had no job, no apartment and a lot of new winter clothes that I certainly did not need in Los Angeles. I decided that this must be God's way of getting me to the East coast to meet my true soul mate. But I wasn't convinced yet. I had a little chat with God. We made a bargain. I said, "Okay, God, I'll give it three months. If you want me to go to New York, this is what I need: a rent-free apartment on the Upper West Side (where many Jewish singles live), an easy, stress-free job that leaves my evenings open for dating and enough money to live on, and most importantly, lots of dates to prove that I should stay more than the three months."
The next day, I had a thought. My dear friend, Jean, and her husband, who live on the Upper West Side, just had a baby the previous August. As a partner in a law firm, she must need to get back to work soon. Maybe I could help.
When I called her, I barely asked, "How are you?" before she launched into her desperate reply, "Terrible. I have to go back to work in a couple weeks, and we still haven't found a nanny. The one nanny who comes highly recommended can't start until June. What would I do for three months?"
Finally, I jumped in. "Jean, what would you pay your nanny?" When she told me, I couldn't believe it! "I'll do it," I said and explained my plan.
She started to cry and said, "There is no one in the world I'd rather have take care of my son than you!"
Okay God, is this why you wanted me here? As much as I love the new opportunities, I'm lonelier than ever, I'm fast approaching 40, and more afraid.
So, I had my rent-free apartment and the most wonderful, healing job taking care of a sweet baby everyday. I also had my nights free for dating, and I'll tell you, I dated more in those three months than I did in six years in Los Angeles. I decided to stay.
I moved to Passaic, New Jersey and continued meeting people, dating and trying to find my soul mate. In the meantime, my career path really took off as I began to teach adult Torah classes in New York City and give lectures up and down the East coast, something I could only dream of doing in L.A. and would never have been able to do if I had gotten married earlier and moved to that smaller city. So I thought, Okay God, is this why you wanted me here? As much as I love the new opportunities, I'm lonelier than ever, I'm fast approaching 40, and more afraid.
Then, it truly happened; I really did meet my bashert. After practically giving up on the whole internet dating thing after years and years of trying, I received an amazing e-mail on Frumster.com from an interesting-sounding guy. Okay, so his picture was a little geeky, maybe it was just a really bad picture. On the way to our first date, I prayed that he looked better than his picture, and my prayer was answered. But more importantly he turned out to be the most giving, loving, caring man. And he seemed to see right through to my deepest soul.
Where had he been, I wanted to know? What took him so long to find me? As it turned out, he had just gotten a divorce after spending far too many years in a loveless marriage. So, even though we lived in the same town for a while, our paths never crossed. And even if they did, we wouldn't have been ready for each other. Of course, if I had stayed in Los Angeles, he would never have e-mailed me at all.
We got married and I thank God every day for this amazing gift I received. My husband and I have often tried to figure out why it took God so long to put us together. We review our lives to see if we could have met and fallen in love earlier, and we always realize that there was no other way, and no other time, than this way and time, when all the pieces could have come together so perfectly. These are the times that I look in my rearview mirror and see God so clearly in every aspect of my journey.