Nineteen years ago, Lance and I met for the first time. I was fifty-six, he was forty-nine. I was single for the first time since the age of nineteen. Three days after my nineteenth birthday, I married. I birthed six children, later working in our company business and living in the same neighborhood in Tampa for nearly thirty years.
You don’t love someone for their looks, their clothes or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear. Oscar Wilde
Following the shock and grieving of the end of over thirty years of marriage, things had changed for me. I was content, celebrating the time to write, sing, dance in my kitchen in my nightgown, have women over for long chats and poetry and attending college. I was just discovering a self that had gone underground many years earlier. I was like a girl leaving her parent’s home—filled with deep sadness, curiosity, excitement and fear. It was not the time to meet a soul-mate, at least in my mind. But as we all know, the quiet voice of the heart must be listened to even when the mind is screaming “Are you nuts?”
A friend attended a gathering based on community building and met Lance. She left me a phone message saying she had shared my phone number with a man she met there. He would be calling me. Barbara was the most rational person I knew, though a soul and heart person through and through. It was so unlike her to do this. And then he called. His voice spoke to me in the way of the song Oscar Wilde mentioned. We talked for weeks, reading our poetry to each other, sharing our dreams. Soon after, I went to visit my grandchildren in Atlanta, stopping on the way back in Panama City to meet Lance and record my voice on his meditation CD. We have been together since that day. It wasn’t just a song, but a dance. We seemed to fit in a certain rhythm of life, and we believed in the power of writing, music, poetry, prayer and the soul. The loud voice of the careful mind, and the fear of losing my new-found autonomy, rose up and battled for my attention. But they were outweighed by the heart’s voice. All the advice I got as a young woman was logical. I was told how much easier life is when you have the same background, religion, economic status, race, etc. And yet art—yes, life is an art—is formed in a vortex of differences, energies, desires and heart urgings.
The heart wants what it wants. There’s no logic to these things. Woody Allen
In our first year together we wrote a book of poetry titled “Night Gardening: Passionate Poems for the Beloved.” For the cover, Marty Balin, of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, wrote: “I’m jealous of your passionate loving relationship. The images turned me on! They took me away. I wanted to steal them.” This praise from the musician who wrote the lyrics for “Hearts” and “Miracles” was humbling. We were reaching out and touching those who would love in a deeper way. The heart had been right. We traveled the country, reading and performing our poetry. We have memories that are deep enough to last several lifetimes. When we are loved for ourselves, or, in spite of ourselves, we are truly soul loved. Love is about compromise, of course, but never at the expense of one or the other’s life path.
We are now entering a new phase of our lives. We are both writing new books and training new clients. We need time and fewer monetary pressures to live our lives, energetically doing what we were put here to do. We will focus on family, our relationship, and our directive to be a light to others as much as we can. So we are selling our home to move into a smaller, more manageable space. Maybe more travel is in our future, but we know for sure that our work and our love will go on as long as we do—and beyond. We look forward to the next adventure.
Am I teaching here? Not really. I am just reminding you what you already know about life and love. Always listen to your heart, no matter how many nay-sayers are out there—or inside you. As Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”