“The Timer” vs. “The Gambler”

What if you had a timer to tell you who your soul mate is?”

The Netflix junkie in me meandered onto a title called “Timer” this morning, a flick about what life would be like if we could wear a device that knew the exact moment we met our soul mate. It was a sweet piece that poses the question of whether it’s better to know ahead or if love is meant to be discovered on our own. If such a device existed, we could skip the “mistakes” that led to the one we spend our lives searching for. Avoid the broken hearts we needn’t carry.

But would it be worth it?

By my age, many people have had their hearts shattered more than once, and left scars upon others along the way. It comes with the territory of the adventurous and sometimes tragic search for a soul that compliments your own.

I can tell stories of love. First loves, bad loves, the kind that linger beyond your reach, and the one that grips your soul. Each one could become a book of its own.

Maybe that’s why the answer to the question of “Would I choose to know my soul mate before I met him?” held no hesitation. My answer is no. The cliche perspective about life being more about the journey than the destination holds too much foundation in my life.

Every experience in life holds a purpose. They provide us lessons and spark adventures before settling into memories that will fall onto the pages of the past, but will not be forgotten.

Middle school hallmarked my first steps into the concept of love. The talented boy with the glasses whose hazel eyes were the first to make me blush. It was the most innocent relationship I’ve ever known, and yet he showed me that some relationships in life will run deep enough to move you, and you’ll never be the same when they do.

Then there was the best friend whose path and mine always crossed but never paralleled. This was a different kind of love. Never before had I been so aware of a person’s soul until that porch swing conversation. Knowing him has taught me what it means to truly be a friend.

Then in college came the writer with the larger than life personality that captured so many’s attention. I nearly married him, but then something happened. In the midst of scars and demons and adulthood, I grew up. I changed, but he stayed the same, and the puzzle pieces no longer fit. It was the heart I never meant to break. The family I never wanted to walk away from. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was to leave him behind. Those steps were more like stumbles that should have been carried with more grace than they did. Still, I knew it then as I still know now that it was the right choice for both of us. Those years gave me the sight and the wisdom to understand that life can change us. Paths can divide, and things that seemed so black and white can fade to gray. I didn’t realize then the importance of knowing who you are before submitting to love, but I do now.

After that came the one with the long hair and the old soul. We were both warriors of a similar kind who understood one another better than most. In my darkest moments, he reached out, and for two years he loved the worst side of me. I doubt I would have made it out of the rough waters without him there. He broke my heart several times, but I’ll never regret the hope he gave me when I needed it most.

All of these became chapters in a story that led to the one I live now. The moment I met Charming came at the time it was meant to, when life and its lessons had finally given me an understanding of who I am and what I live for.

Charming with his niece the night she decided to play matchmaker with us.

Charming with his niece the night she decided to play matchmaker with us.

When he and I first met at his brother’s wedding, I was 24 and focused. The trials of my youth had written their last chapters. I had grown into a woman with a dream who knew who she was and what she wanted in life. Love wasn’t something I hunted. I expected it would unfold on its own.

My past relationships, like past trials, had taught me so many things. I’ve been told you cannot know joy without sadness, love without heartbreak, and success without failure. If I knew ahead who and when I would meet the man who made forever feel worth it, would I have recognized it like I did?

So many dear friends with true love stories shared a common, vague explanation. That moment when they “just knew”. I came to understand that feeling standing on the concrete sidewalk of an airport beside his silver SUV, when he looked at me with more certainty than I’d ever seen in anyone’s eyes. A man who loved me not because he needed me, but because he knew like I did that something about us fit like a worn pair of moccasins. Nothing in life had ever felt so perfectly tailored. If fate existed, it stared back at me through his eyes.

If given the chance, I would never spoil that moment or the ones that led to it. If I did, I don’t know if I would have understood it like I do now.

What about you? If you had the choice, would you take the “timer” and predict that moment? Or would you let your story unfold on its own?



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