A Prayer for Online Dating

 

Bouquet

7/12/11

I married well the second time around.  Left behind the diamond and replaced it with a turquoise ring bought in front of the Governor’s
Palace in Santa Fe

It wasn’t hard to say yes and I never had any second thoughts.  This time it would take and it would be for keeps.  Sure, there would be bumps in the road, ups and downs and unexpected detours.  But this was true love and it would always be there.  And to think it was so easy to find love this
time around. 

A friend of mine has been on the search for a second husband for nearly ten years.  She updates her online profile picture every so often and though she is quite attractive, you can see a harder edge about her with each successive picture she posts.   She has had a number of lovers since divorced but none live up long-term to the expected qualifications.  Money, looks, intelligence and vitality are her most sought-after qualities.   With each passing year, she says it gets tougher to find someone even worth a meet-up.  Men her age are looking for women ten years or more younger.  Men who are looking for women her age are ten years or more older.  She says the older guys are looking for someone to take care of them as they grow older.  She’s wanting someone to take care of her instead.  And while she possesses the qualities that she seeks in a mate, she keeps running into a dead-end.   Married men, imposters, scary guys, nice….but…kind of guys.   

Instead of giving up, she has buckled down more seriously by employing a professional photographer with good lighting, hiring a high dollar match service and having a little “work” done here and there.  She took a class to improve her computer skills and had her daughter develop a program she can use to keep track of the progress she is making with each of her contacts.  She runs her profile and comments past a bevy of men and women friends before posting.    She has perfected the process more than any of the other women I know who are searching online.  

My approach might be described as a wing and a prayer.  My profile was written in a few minutes and posted, then a few emails and telephone conversations later I was meeting a man at the Durango airport who had flown 1,000 miles to meet me.  When he got off the plane I distinctly
remember feeling disappointment.  A little older, not as good-looking as I thought he looked in his pictures.  But by the time we had driven an hour toward my home, I knew that what had sparked my interest was still
there–intelligence, wit, honor and kindness.  Not something you can see in a profile picture.

A few months later, I was heading to Montana to spend the summer with him.  We had glorious months in that beautiful country but when I returned home at the end of the summer I knew I was returning home for good.  It was the perfect relationship to begin life after divorce.   A good man, a kind man, someone I will always respect and who will remain a friend.  But I knew we were not meant to be together longer. 

When I returned from Montana, I bought myself a ring in Santa Fe and unceremoniously decided that from that day forward I would be true to myself in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and I would love and honor myself all the days of my life.  I thought I had it all figured out
and in some ways I might have.  And while I had learned to love myself in a way that I never had been able to while in my first marriage, I was also afraid of hurting someone else as I had been hurt myself.  Or even worse, I feared getting deeply hurt again.  Choosing to make the most of life on my own from then on felt right in many ways.  I settled in comfortably to that state of
mind. 

Not long after, I decided to take a workshop on artistic mosaic taught by a wonderfully talented artist in Longmont, Colorado.  I spent a perfect autumn day in Susan Wechsler’s beautiful studio and by the end of it, I’d created a picture frame that I am still proud of.  While I worked, my attention kept going to one of the pieces that she had displayed for sale.  I loved the colors of it and thought it would look beautiful in the same room as my 18th century Swedish armoire.

Spirit House

I left her studio carrying my little picture frame and a beautiful new accessory for my study.  I unpacked it at home and admired how well it looked in the lighting of that room.  I didn’t think too much more about it at the time but one day decided maybe I’d look into getting another piece of Susan’s
work to give as a gift.  I went to her website(http://www.mosaicsbysusan.com/) to check out what was available and
got stuck on the page in which she describes her spirit houses.

This is what she says:

Mystical Spirit Houses are lovingly created with your “intention” in mind. These original art pieces combine the traditional spirit houses of Thailand with the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui. There are 9 life blessings in Feng Shui and my spirit houses represent each of these areas of focus.   By combining your intent with mine, a magical work of art is created.  Choose which life arena you wish to activate and this is the spirit house for you.” 

Oh my, I had paid no attention to any intention or given any meaning other than knowing that my spirit house would look good in my study.  I had placed it on top of my bookcase, in a somewhat shrine-like place of honor, and loved how it looked there.   But I’d never considered its deeper meaning or turned it over to learn of its intention.

When I did, this is what I saw. 

 

Wow.  Maybe I should return it, I thought.  I had sworn off marriage for sure, love probably.   Maybe I should see if I could switch it out for one that related to health and family, or career, knowledge and self-cultivation, or wealth.  Yes, wealth.   That would be the one I should get instead.  But I didn’t.
The Love and Marriage spirit house seemed to have made a home on my
bookcase and I decided to leave it there and not worry about it.

And then it happened.  Almost immediately, without conscious intention, love crept into my life again.  Slowly, surely, deeply, consciously.  I resisted.   It won.  I fell in love again.   

I still intend to stay married to myself for the rest of my life.  I don’t intend to marry again.  But I do intend to enjoy the surprising return of love into my life.  Whether it was the magic of the spirit house, the luck of the draw, good timing or just the power of letting go, l have learned once again that “I love to love and be loved.”  And this way was oh so much easier than online dating.