Sarah-Jane’s Birthday!

Today is Sarah-Jane’s birthday. For no specific reason, necessarily, I have randomly <cough cough> IMG_2692-1chosen  40 reasons why I love and admire her. In no particular order, they are:

  1. Her amazing, loving, heart
  2. Her smile. It lights up a room, and my heart
  3. Her laugh. It is one of the happiest sounds I’ve ever heard
  4. Her mind. She doesn’t know it, but she’s brilliant
  5. Her style. It’s all her own, and expressive of her creativity and personality
  6. Her love of God. She inspires me everyday
  7. Her love of her children. They have never gone a single day of their lives unaware of her undying love and devotion
  8. Her love of music. I’ve been a musician nearly all of my life, but her love of music has given me a deeper appreciation
  9. Her humor. She is wicked funny! (New England is rubbing off on me)
  10. Her wisdom. I have never seen her give her kids or me bad advice. Even when it seems like it doesn’t make sense, time always proves her right
  11. Her humility. She does nothing for self glorification. She lives to make others look better, or even just good. She has a servant’s heart, and is often overlooked for this great attribute. But that’s often the plight of genuine servants
  12. Her friendship. When she becomes your friend, you have gained a fan. She will take your secrets to the grave, if you want her to. She will be there to listen to you when you need her. She will pray for you. She will weep when you weep, and rejoice when you do. Genuinely
  13. Her loyalty. She will not turn her back on you. Ever
  14. Her wit. It’s lightening quick, and equal parts humorous and deep
  15. Her emotions. I know she sometimes hates being an emotional person, but after being raised by one such woman, I appreciate a person who feels deeply, and is expressive
  16. Her beauty. Both inside and out, she is the definition of beauty
  17. Grace under pressure. She has endured a lot in life, and she never gave in to distractions and destructive behavior
  18. Her relationship with her family. I love watching them in action. Whether it’s talking about old memories, working together to get things done, or just sitting around cracking bad jokes and puns, I love that she is close to her parents
  19. Her sense of adventure. It doesn’t have to be some huge outing. It can be quite simple. But her appreciation to just getting out and experiencing life is fun and exciting
  20. Her integrity. She will not take a short cut that requires fudging on the rules. Even if something will take longer or cost more, she will do the right thing even when no one else would judge or fault her for cutting corners
  21. She is not materialistic. She gets more excited at the thought of a picnic in a park in Boston than sitting in a swanky restaurant eating food you can’t pronounce
  22. Her X-ray vision. No, not the superpower. Although it just might be, but not like in the comics and movies. She has a way of seeing in others what most people don’t notice. I am a chief beneficiary. She sees and appreciates qualities in me that make me feel bulletproof, confident and secure.
  23. Her faith. When my mom was dying, she questioned aloud who would pray for me as she did. I see how Sarah-Jane prays for those she loves, and I’m blessed to be among them.
  24. Her transparency. I have not met someone so open and honest with their disappointments, failures and difficulties. She doesn’t even know the extent to which these events have strengthened her and made her an even better person…and a great success in the most meaningful way
  25. Her love of coffee. This is probably an odd thing to point out, especially from a non coffee drinker. But I love that when I, or someone she loves brings her an unexpected cup of coffee, she lights up as if she was given a fuzzy little kitten
  26. Her authenticity. She is WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get). She doesn’t put on masks to impress or get along with people. She’s who she is. She is consistent, no matter where she is or who she’s with
  27. Her singing. The girl LOVES to sing. And though she doesn’t believe me, I think she’s pretty darned good at it. I’ve never heard her miss a note. Plus, she’s a freak. She knows the lyrics to every song ever written (so it seems)
  28. Her love of baseball. What more needs to be said?
  29. Her punctuality. I appreciate being with a woman who has never made me wait…and wait…and wait…and wait…
  30. She is a dreamer. I love sitting and listening to her dreams. They are simple, but profound
  31. She is a great teacher. I have had the privilege to be around her for much of this school year. It has been a challenging year for her, but she is energized by her students and helping them succeed in their development
  32. Her compassion. I have seen her weep and rejoice, genuinely, for things that most people would hardly notice. Most of us, even when we notice people or animals in distress, will do something about it. She is a person of action
  33. Her character. Even when someone does her wrong, she will never return evil for evil
  34. Her approachability. It is uncanny how just about anywhere and everywhere we go, random people will just strike up a conversation with her. She is so friendly, people are just naturally drawn to her
  35. She knows me. Very few people in my life have known what makes me tick. No one has ever known me as she does. She instinctively knows what will touch and bless my heart
  36. She is protective. As a mama bear, she can be very mild-mannered…until someone goes after someone she loves
  37. Her dorkosity. Yeah, I just made that word up. But I love how we can walk into a Walmart, and she’s not afraid to grab a hula hoop and show how it’s done!
  38. Her receptive spirit. We have had many, many deep, introspective conversations. She is very open to my observations. She is not trying to compete with me. She is eager to see herself through my eyes, and that maybe she’s not as bad as she thinks
  39. Her values. She had many other options available to her when choosing who she would allow into her heart. But despite the inherent challenges of a long distance relationship, she was willing to give the guy in California a chance based on the unique connection they had
  40. She is my best friend. As much as we have a romantic connection, it would mean nothing were it not for the friendship we have developed. There is no one on earth I trust with my innermost thoughts and feelings. There is no one I’d rather spend my time with, even if the activity isn’t an enjoyable one. And even though I’ve been blessed with wonderful people in my life, I am more complete and fulfilled when I am sharing them with her, and her with them

I am blessed. I’ve said it many, many times. I am blessed beyond my merit. God’s grace is demonstrated when He gives us what we don’t deserve. I can’t think of anything I’ve done in my life, or ever will do that would make me deserving of Sarah-Jane and these relatively few qualities that set her apart.

I pray that this day, and every day after, she will be blessed beyond her wildest imagination. She gives and gives. She loves and loves. She expects nothing in return. From anybody. She inspires me every single day.

Thank you, Sarah-Jane, for changing my life. Happy Birthday!

The heart of a mom

Today is Mother’s Day. As I reflect upon this day, missing my mom, I think of the wonderful gifts to us that mother’s can, and should be. Sadly, there are many among us who do not experience the best of what mothers bring. For them, I have to imagine that this day can be hollow.

One need to look no further than the life of Jesus to understand that the mother/child relationship is intensely significant. We’re left to speculate about Jesus’ younger days. This also means we do not know what it must have been like for his parents. Because he was perfect and without sin, we can infer that he obeyed her when she asked him to take care of chores. If he was given a curfew when to be home, we can rest assured he was home on time, if not early. But this doesn’t mean it was easy. It is unnatural for a parent to outlive their children. How this mother’s heart must have been torn to shreds as her beloved son went from hero to villain in the hearts of the people in the span of one short week. The torture, the mocking, the brutal public death. All within view of his mother. And yet, from the cross, as his breaths were drawing few and far between, he looked down and made assurances his mother would be taken care of.

When I think of my mom, I think of her unwavering, unconditional love. Sadly, she had to Quotation-Richelle-E-Goodrich-strength-love-god-motherhood-mom-mother-Meetville-Quotes-223792deal with a kid who was fluent in sarcasm. I could crack wise at the most inappropriate moments. As I became a teenager and a bit more independent, I pushed her away. Everything that made her so amazing was rejected because it wasn’t “cool” to her unappreciative son. Yet, everything that made her so amazing was expected of her. In her last years, as she battled illness and was confined to a bed at least 20 hours of the day, she loved me endlessly. When I lived 2 hours from her, we would speak by phone. She loved to hear about how my day was. She wanted to know every detail. For one, it made her feel connected to me. It also allowed her heart and mind to move freely through life when her body wouldn’t allow it. As her days drew down to the end, her concern turned to who would love me and pray for me when she was gone.

Last year, I met another amazing mother. Sarah-Jane is so loving, gentle, kind and caring. The relationship she has with her boys is beautiful to behold. The love her sons have for each other makes your heart melt. The love they have for her makes my heart so warm, yet, it also grinds at my heart in remembering how it wasn’t until later in life that I became more expressive and appreciative of the love I shared with my own mom. Sarah-Jane is humble. When she receives a compliment of how uniquely special her boys are, she agrees with the compliment as it relates to their character, but bristles when it is directed to her as being such a powerful influence on the young men they are. When her boys enter the room, her spirit glows. When they leave the house for the day or longer, there is an immediate emptiness. She loves her boys with all that is within her. One day, when her sons are older, with families of their own, she will hopefully then be able to reflect on these years and see that she has done a fine work. That she has been a worthy steward of these lives left in her care.

I know an amazing mother when I see one. I was raised by one. I am in love with one. I know, first hand, the often unspoken impact the love and devotion of a good mom can have on a life. As a grown man, so close to an incredible mother, I see first hand all the behind-the-scenes elements that warm, and break a mother’s heart. “You are only as happy as your least happy child”. How profound, and how true. I am growing in understanding as to what my mom must have felt in times when I went through difficulties, and triumphs.

My heart is full today. I had the most amazing mother, and now, I am sharing my life with one cut from the same cloth. Understanding, seeing and experiencing the heart of a mother, and how God designed it, inspires me. I’m so blessed and grateful to have a place in the lives of these wonderful, godly women.

Releasing greater love through an uncomfortable conversation

Greetings from frigid New England. The drive from California to Rhode Island was, thankfully, smoother than I dared to hope. I had incredible weather all the way, and my nine year old car made it look easy. I even had a wonderful opportunity to spend the last night of my trip near Cleveland in the home of great friends I knew in San Jose.

So now, I’m here. Starting over in a new land. It’s exciting, and it’s quite an adventure.

The adjustments haven’t only been mine to make.

As our relationship transitions from cross country to cross town, Sarah and I are realizing that doing so isn’t as simple and smooth as one might think. It has been a wonderful, and sometimes awkward process of self-discovery. As much as you are mindful and prayerful about being realistic and not idealistic about long distance love, there are significant adjustments we must make as individuals, as well as a couple.

The other day, Sarah and I went on a day trip to Boston. It was a beautiful day, but there was black-couple-having-conversation-e1350829038851something of a dark cloud hanging over us. In fact, it had been lingering on and off for the better part of a week. As we got to the subway parking garage, we each knew we had to have an awkward conversation. One of us was holding on to an observation that wasn’t awful, but carried a lot of personal weight. It wasn’t a comfortable topic. There was a concern that discussing it could cause anger or hurt in the other, which neither of us would want to inflict on anyone, much less each other.

Finally, it was out in the open. It was awkward at first, but there was no anger or hurt. Throughout the next 20 minutes, we went from an initial state of angst, to sharing a variety of very personal quirks that we don’t necessarily broadcast to others. Healing had come. We were able to console and understand one another on a new, deeper level. We were even able to laugh and be ourselves.

The cloud was gone.

We ended up having a wonderful day and evening in Boston. We walked hand-in-hand throughout. We laughed, we took pictures, we dreamed, we explored.

We lived.

As I reflect upon that day in its entirety, I think about how much more than that, God loves it when He points out things in our lives that maybe no one knows about, or would have the courage, authority and sensitivity to discuss. God isn’t afraid of our reactions, as we flawed humans are. But when we receive His conviction, His word of correction, His rebuke, His tender words of admonition, and we embrace them, we achieve a new level of intimacy with Him. The roadblock that may have existed before is gone. Transparency leads to a greater depth of love and trust for God, just as it does in human relationships.

Human nature says to ignore difficult truths. Sweep it under the rug. Ignore it and it will go away. In truth, this is deception. A relationship of any kind cannot be healthy when there is deception at any level, to any degree. Where there is humility, there is no humiliation. Where there is transparency, there is intimacy. Whether in marriage or with God, we can only discover and live a life of trust and faith when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in their presence, and receive the uncomfortable truth that leads to greater intimacy, and a healthier, deeper relationship.

Ch ch ch changes

In late August of 2008, I felt the winds of change coming. At the time, I was living in San Jose, California. I had been there for 12 years, and loved it. I was part of a wonderful church, very active in ministry there, had the most wonderful friends I’ve ever had, and lived in a world class city with so much to do and enjoy. David-Jakes-on-Change-2.jpg.scaled.1000-400x533

But I knew God was sending me off into a new direction. I could have stayed where I was and been happy. But I felt God was calling me to the Sacramento area, for reasons I didn’t know. All I knew was that in following His direction, I would grow and mature in ways I wouldn’t experience by staying comfortable in San Jose.

Not to rehash stuff I’ve written before, but for the benefit of those who may be new to Crossing Paths, my first six months in Sacramento were among the most difficult of my life. I had been laid off from three jobs in those six months. The third of which came the day after my mom’s funeral. I seriously questioned why God would take me from where I felt at home and useful, to a place that seemed to be kicking me out of everything I did.

Now, five and a half years later, the winds are blowing again. In what will be no surprise to many of you who have been following the events of the last six months of my life, I am moving to New England.

In my head, the plan was that, if I were to move, it would most likely be summer, at the earliest.

But God has His own plan.

After the early professional frustrations in Sacramento, I started my own business. Building a clientele was a very slow process. Through a series of connections made through my clients, I ended up landing an association with a firm with offices in 29 states, in 80 cities around the country. When I began toying with the idea of New England, I checked out their website. No offices in the New England area.

Then, in late January, one of the attorneys in the Sacramento office asked me where Sarah-Jane lives. I explained to her where she lives in relation to Boston, the largest and most widely-known city in the region. The attorney then said, “well, you know we’re opening an office in Boston, right?”

Uhhh, no, I didn’t.

After more than 20 years in business, this firm chose February 3, 2014 to open an office in Boston. I happened to know and have a good working relationship with THE right person in the company. The one who makes the decisions on vendors for their offices around the United States. So, with one phone call, I landed the Boston office.

Without a doubt, God’s favor and blessings are working together. I don’t expect things to be easy. And other than the phone call that secured the Boston office, nothing has been easy.

By the time this entry is posted, I will be on the road toward Boston. The drive will be some 3,000 miles, and over four days. The weather will probably be challenging. There is much I’m leaving in the rear view mirror. But much lies ahead. I have been on the road of faith before. The entire experience of getting from California to New England is a metaphor for life. I don’t know how to get there, specifically. I’ll have to rely on a source to guide me to my destination. There will likely be storms and obstacles along the way. After the first two hours or so, none of what I see will be familiar to me. I will have to be smart with decisions, but also exercise some blind faith.

I will try to post updates along the way. In the meantime, your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Balloons in times of crisis

Remember when we were kids…or for those of you with kids, maybe you did this. You would take a latex balloon and rub it against your head. The static cling would build up so the balloon would stick to walls, or if you held it close to your head, your hair would stand on end to touch the balloon.

I have a theory that relates this phenomenon to relationships. First, let’s start with the science.

Balloons_(static_electricity)

If you have two balloons and rub them each against your hair or fabric, the friction causes each of them to become negatively charged. When this happens, the balloons will not stick together. In fact, they will repel one another.

On the other hand, when only one of the balloons experiences the friction and is negatively charged, the balloon that has not been negatively charged will cling to the negatively charged balloon. They will be drawn toward one another, and stick together.

There are times in our relationships when one or the other is going through a difficult time. When two people are not fully committed, the friction in the one’s life will also create friction with the other. This will cause the two to drift, or even push each other apart.

However, where there is love and devotion, the one without the friction will draw close to the one with the problem. They will cling together. When you have a relationship that is healthy and strong, that friction will not push you apart, but bring you closer together. When one faces difficulty, or friction, the other will be drawn to them. They will actually become closer than they ever were before. It’s easy to get along and enjoy a bond when things are going well. But what happens when the friction happens?

While difficulties are not something we enjoy, we can embrace them because by virtue of the friction, the bond between us will only draw us closer together. The bond between us is strengthened. It’s critical to stick together. When we are so drawn and committed to the person in need, our devotion provides strength and empowers the one in crisis. As this happens, we will get through it together. Our relationship is forged. But if we push the other away or shut them out by not being open and honest, we create more friction with our attitude. We will repel one another.

How liberating and unifying it is when you can say to one another, “I will stick with you, I will walk with you through it all, no matter what.”

Sole mate

Several years ago, a couple from my church invited me to their home for dinner. They were friends, so naturally, I agreed to a nice, home cooked meal. During the course of the evening, the conversation turned to asking me about my, at that time, non-existent love life.

“What is it you’re looking for in a woman? Obviously, aside from her being a singer.”

They had assumed that since I was a singer, that this was some kind of “must have” for me. Not only was that not something I wanted or needed in a mate, I actually preferred that she wouldn’t be a singer. As much as I enjoyed singing, and it was a huge part of what I did, it wasn’t and isn’t who I am. It doesn’t define me. It wasn’t and isn’t some kind of foundation for a relationship.

All along, God was molding my desires. Not only what I do want and need, but what I don’t. 

Fast forward to present day.

In God’s infinite and undeniable wisdom, He has given me a woman who is precisely what I need for life. In short, her strengths are my weaknesses. At the same time, I have strengths in areas where she is somewhat vulnerable.

I have had conversations with single people about the topic of soul mates. Is there one person out there who is perfect for you? Is there more than one person who is perfect for you, and it’s just a matter of finding one?

I honestly do not know. What I do know is that I’m a month shy of my 49th birthday. I’ve never been married. I have had numerous relationships in my life, but obviously, we were not perfect for one another.

Perfect. There’s a word. You might be reading this and thinking, “well no wonder you’ve never gotten married. You’re as flawed as a marble boat. How can you expect to find perfection, never mind attract it?” Good question. I look at Facebook, and I see so many spouses touting their mates as “the most wonderful in the world”. Is that hyperbole? How can hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of spouses all over the world be “the best”? That’s impossible. There can only be one best. And by what standard is this measured?

The key is finding “perfect” for me. And I have. Obviously, we have each been in other relationships. We were fundamentally the same people we are today. But we have each experienced excruciating heartache, and we have each broken the hearts of others. But in each other, we have found ‘perfection’. I certainly am anything but perfect. Good grief. I am riddled with flaws. But I have qualities that make me the exact right fit for her life. And she has qualities of which I am in awe.Picture-Quote-about-Love

Speaking for myself, this is not to say that those from my past are bad people. They are not inferior in any way. It’s just that we weren’t right for one another. I have no bad feelings about those in my past. I wish them unbridled happiness. It’s simply that I have found the one who, from the very beginning, understood me in ways that others who have known me for years don’t get.

Whether there are 1 or 100 “soul mates” for me out there, I have found my sole mate. No one has ever spoken to my heart, mind and spirit as she does. No one has confronted my deepest fears, and filled me with the strength to face and overcome them. No one has ever seen me so vulnerable, and responded with even more love.

It’s been a long time. There have been many heartaches. Being patient has cost me some life experiences that I wish I could have had. But I’m so thankful that I didn’t settle for someone for whom I was not right, and who was not right for me. We are all better off with the way things are turning out. No regrets.

God saved his very best for last. Sarah-Jane is absolutely perfect. For me.

No greater love

A new movie was released over the weekend. It is one I am so eager to see, I’ll actually go alone if I have to. I’ve never gone to a movie alone before. The only other movie I was willing to do so for was The Passion of the Christ. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the similarities in these two movies. The new one is Lone Survivor. Yes, one movie is about the sacrifice of Jesus for all mankind, and the second is the level of love and sacrifice of brothers in arms on the battlefield.

Most of us will never face situations where we will be called upon to lay down our lives for Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 8.20.53 PMsomeone else. John 15:13 tells us that there is no greater love than when we lay down our lives for our friends. Does this mean that we are doomed to a lesser love unless we’re facing a life and death situation?

Absolutely not.

It’s very likely that we are presented with this “no greater love” opportunity on a fairly regular basis. The simple application is when we love someone more than we love what we want for ourselves. As a man, as a steward over the heart, mind and body of a wonderful woman, it means that I show her I love her more than I love having my own way. It means showing her, not just telling her, that she is more important than my own desires. That she is worth any cost or sacrifice.

As a Christian, it frequently means making choices because I love God more than things that would damage my relationship with Him, or my reputation as a Christian.

As a friend and neighbor, it may mean that rather than spend a relaxing day or evening at home, or taking care of personal business, we make ourselves available to help or spend time with someone in need.

We are all blessed with opportunities to serve someone and something that is bigger than ourselves. By doing so, we put them, and ourselves, in proper perspective. In doing so, we bless others, and we experience and receive a greater depth of love in our own lives.

Today, demonstrate “no greater love” in some way, to someone.

Contentment

I must admit, I am not one who is easily content. It’s not that I’m so goal-oriented or anything like that. I’m not the guy with motivational quotes posted all over my home. It’s more like I’m just not easily or frequently satisfied.

I have been in New England since December 18. As I type this, I should be at the airport, waiting to board my flight back to California. Instead, I’m sitting in the kitchen at Sarah-Jane’s home, brain/heart-dumping into this post. A significant snow storm literally blew into the region yesterday and through the night, so I changed my flight to Monday.

As I sit here at the kitchen table, and as I’ve spent a relaxing morning and early afternoon with her and her boys, I find myself in an unfamiliar territory. No, not Rhode Island.

Contentment.

When I was showering this morning, which is often when and where I do my best thinking, a thought popped in my head. I often times get so caught up thinking about my past and the disappointments I’ve faced, and worry about how they might affect my future. But in doing so, I miss out on living in the moment. What I do in the moment, or what I miss out on by not doing, has much more of an impact on my destiny than worrying about what was, and how it might affect what will be.

be-in-the-moment_Snapseed

Even in the quietness of today, when we’re somewhat confined to the indoors due to the bitter cold outside, I find myself appreciating every detail of the moment. The future is going to be busy. The future is constructed by each current moment. Being so concerned with the enormity of what lies ahead can be overwhelming. But by taking in each moment, we allow ourselves, and God, to operate in our designed roles and abilities.

God is not bound by the limits of time. I am. I cannot live tomorrow today. He is already in tomorrow, in six months from now, in one hundred years from now. He knows the end from the beginning. Why am I worried or consumed by the past or the future? He will guide my steps. But my steps come in ‘the moment’. Thinking about what must be done tomorrow is good. Learning from the past, also good. Obsessing on it? Not so much.

Live in the moment. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Maybe you’re not exactly where you need or want to be. I understand that. Believe me. Take this moment and do something with it.

The fact that you have ‘the moment’ is a blessing not to be wasted.

Best Christmas ever…so far

Like a good play, life has acts. Act one is the “kid” years. Act two is typically those middle years when many go off to college, experience independence, get married and start families.

For me, the second act has been much longer than I had anticipated.

When we assess our lives and our experiences, we do so in some form of context. I had a good childhood. Great memories. I never was left wanting for anything. Well, there were the times I wanted bikes and cars when Santa didn’t exactly come through, but I now understand that those things were not always what I truly needed. Understanding the difference between what we want and what we need comes with maturity.

As I am now in Act 3 of my life, the gap between my needs and wants has narrowed. The things that mean most to me are not even things. The best gifts I was given this year didn’t have price tags on them. The elements that made this the best Christmas ever were linked to tears and smiles that came from expressions of the heart.

I received two priceless gifts this Christmas. In chronological order, the first was a journal. It is a prayer journal Sarah-Jane started on October 25th, 2013. My mom’s birthday. As I opened it to the inside cover, she had attached a closeup photograph of my mother on the right hand page. On the inside cover, opposite her picture, Sarah wrote her first prayer for the journal. She expressed her desire to take the baton from my mom, and accept the role as the one who would pray for me, as my mom had until she died.

It took me five minutes to get past the inside cover of the journal.

The journal is an ongoing, never-ending work. So I will have to surrender it back to her before I return to California. I absolutely can’t wait to read it all over again, as well as the new installments that will await when I get to see it again in February when she comes to visit me in California.

Scrapbook

The second gift was equally touching. She created a scrapbook of our story. The very first page included wonderful details that brought us together. The book is filled with sentimental thoughts, pictures, notes and keepsakes. It was so amazing to see us through her eyes and heart.

There is nothing she could have bought me that could have meant more to me, that would have touched my heart as deeply as these two gifts. She just gets me. She knows how I think. She knows what touches my heart. God knows every detail about us, and places just the right person in our lives who knows how to love, respect and feed those parts that make us who we are.

I’m thankful that things aren’t as important to me as they once were. I’m thankful that sacrificially blessing others, speaking into their lives, sharing your heart, and thoughtful expressions of love and appreciation are the things that will span the test of time. No assembly or batteries are necessary.

This has simply been the best Christmas ever. So far.

Life language

Several years ago, a book was released that talked about Love Languages. It’s basically a different way of looking at personality profiles and their compatibility, or lack thereof, in a romantic relationship.

I’m writing this from Sarah-Jane’s dining room table in Rhode Island. We have shared a wonderful week together, celebrating Thanksgiving and so much more. My plane back to California leaves on Tuesday afternoon. With that in the back of our minds, we spent some time today just talking about life and things we find unique in our relationship as compared to past experiences. In a moment of inspiration, I said, “you don’t realize you have your own unique language until you meet someone who speaks it fluently, like no one ever has.”

Yes, we all speak English. We may use phrases or expressions that may be unique due to geographic regions, generations, or some other organic influence. For instance, after spending time in Rhode Island, I now know what a “bubbler” is! Our life experiences, together with our emotions, personality and intellect, work together to create a unique ‘life language’, or at least dialect, that others may or may not understand. Many don’t understand us at all, as if we were from another planet. But every now and then, someone comes in to your life who already knows it completely and speaks it fluently.

IMG_0519That’s not to say two people have the exact same experiences. It’s to say that things in my life have prepared me to understand the things that she has experienced and have shaped her into who she is. And the same is true in reverse. It is amazing when you can simply talk and listen to someone who just “gets it”. 

It’s an awe-inspiring moment of individuality when we think about the fact that we all have a unique fingerprint from anyone else who ever lived. But how much more is it when we realize we all have our own experiences that distinguish us from even those who have known us all our lives. My parents raised me, but they haven’t had all the experiences I had. They couldn’t possibly have felt all that I felt in going through them. Conversely, I can’t know all of their experiences and how they were affected by them.

So many people get themselves into relationships based on superficial qualities. These qualities aren’t necessarily unimportant, but they’re not a foundation upon which a healthy, successful relationship can be built. We must be able to talk and share openly, and to be understood beyond a mere intellectual connection. Our life experiences teach us lessons that will serve us later in life. Not only in our own lives, but to be beneficial in the lives of others. Particularly those with whom we share our lives.

I don’t think I realized how unique my language was until I came across someone who speaks and understands it so innately. Gone are the attempts to find the right words to help someone wrap their heads around what I’m trying to convey. It’s more like just throwing it out there with the full confidence that no further explanation, pantomiming or analogies are necessary.