At age 36, I left my financial practice and decided to launch my own business. The company has grown into what is now the SOAR Community Network. In that same year I published my memoir, A Million Fireflies, and coauthored a business workbook, Seen and Sustained, with three female entrepreneurs. That July I traveled to Spain for one month to participate in a friend’s wedding and allowed myself the first vacation in seven years.
When I arrived back in the United States, Victor, yes the gentleman I met while networking, called me to share that he had separated from his wife. He was living with an old childhood friend from Puerto Rico and wanted to start writing and playing music. He knew that I was a poet and that I had collaborated with a friend on writing songs. On that call, he was very honest in sharing that he was trying to uncover his own gifts and talents to create ways of healing and moving forward with his life. He asked if I wanted to meet his roommate and join them in writing original songs.
A year after we started writing and playing music, our feelings for one another grew but neither of us truly knew when it had turned from friendship into love. It slowly happened and it grew through our shared values and vision for life. As complex as it was, both understanding that he was still in the midst of a separation, there was a knowing that we would be fine regardless of what direction our friendship needed to take. We both agreed that peace had to be a part of the equation.
As fate would painfully have it, the same week that he and his wife submitted their divorce papers, she was diagnosed with Leukemia and within 8 months she passed away peacefully with her loved ones, including Victor, by her side.
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. It offers so many contradictions including pain and joy, hatred and love, light and dark, life, and death.
I have come to learn that our life experiences, especially the most painful ones, create an empathy bucket that stretches far and wide. Because I truly understood what happens to a human heart when you lose someone you love, I was able to support Victor on his personal journey of loss and healing. It made us grow closer. I got him. He got me. This newly, yet unwanted experience, bonded and solidified our friendship. Today he is my best friend, husband, business partner, and life companion. He accepts my humanness and knows the purity of my soul like no other on this planet.
The pain and beauty of life means that everything moves forward and in time if we so choose to keep walking toward the light, our spirits eventually find a sense of harmony again. One day we arrive at the end of the dark tunnel and are greeted with new blessings and lessons that will add to the width and depth of our empathy buckets. That bucket will become the reservoir we get to draw from when we realize and accept that some of the greatest roles we will ever play in this life include friend, lover, teacher, and light bearer.
If you’re out there and are feeling alone, remember to look up into the sky and trust that there are infinite souls who see you, have experienced what you feel, and are shining their light upon you.
There will come a time when other souls will be looking up at you and drawing hope and inspiration from your life experiences and the lasting contributions you offered when you were here, living on this earthly plane.