But you have to have an open heart to see them.
“Now I lay me down to sleep. God bless Mommy and Daddy, make my brothers stop pestering me, and please, please, please, don’t let Elvis Presley marry anyone until I grow up!”
In 1960, at eight-years-old, my first true love was the King himself and this intense infatuation inspired my initial negotiating with the Almighty. As a little girl in a devout Catholic family, I was taught that God always answers the prayers of sweet children. So, I made sure I was uber sweet.
“Dear God,” I went on. “I promise to be a good girl for the rest of my life if YOU grant me this one wish…” But even though those prayers fell on deaf ears, as Elvis found another “hunk of burning love” in the form of Priscilla, I never gave up practicing my negotiation skills.
Years later, as my budding sexuality took me far from the unattainable superstar to the cute boy sitting next to me in religion class, I continued. He seemed more attainable.
“Ok God,” I began, again, but more fervently. “This one’s really it! Please make him notice me.”
Sadly, this request, like so many others, seemed to dance on the wind like a delicate feather tossed about but with no place to land. No matter how hard I begged, I couldn’t get any of the boys I liked to like me back. I soon began to wonder if, perhaps, God was taking a long-needed vacation on a remote island and forgot His cell phone. He sure as hell wasn’t answering my calls. But years later, in the summer of 1993, when I was a young mother of four, I heard a song that made me look at my prayer life much differently.
The song was by Garth Brooks called “Unanswered Prayers,” and in it he sings, “Because He doesn’t answer, don’t mean He don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.” It came at a time when I was beginning to question my marriage (we would split up in 2001) and found myself reminiscing about a young man I adored back in my college days.
For eight years (4 in college and 4 out), John and I danced in and out of each other’s lives, but we’d end up with someone else — for a while. I’d get other boyfriends, he even got married for a couple years. But when free, we’d circle back to each other. That is, until my former husband appeared on the scene and swept me off my feet. This time, it was for good. I let go of what felt was a wisteria vine — solid, strong, and always intertwined — and climbed into a hot air balloon, holding on tight for the ride of my life for the next twenty-two years.
Divorce is never easy, especially when there’s cheating involved. After all, it’s not what we sign up for when we take those vows. I promised all those words said on the altar, and meant them. Whatever it took, I would make my marriage work.
But today, I see that my husband leaving was all part of a Universal plan. While I adored John, and, in my youth, often prayed we could get it together, it was my husband I was destine to marry, not him. Together we created, nurtured, and loved four outstanding human beings that have brought me tremendous joy. Those sweet souls chose US to be their parents, and it was a privilege to raise them.
It was also through my divorce that I discovered treasures that would have remained hidden if I continued the path I was traveling. I was the stay-at-home, dutiful wife that kept hearth and home running smoothly, often negating any of my needs or desires.
If we were still together today, I’d never have started my career in real estate, become a writer of four books, picked up my artistic talents from my youth again, or sell the family home to move to the Tahoe mountains. Because of my divorce, I became the independent woman the universe intended me to be — my own person.
I was once told that “where we are in any moment is exactly where God wants us to be,” whether we like it or not. All my painful experiences have proven this to be correct. For when the dense fog lifted, and the sun shone again, there would always be an aha moment and the reason for my journey.
We, as humans, think we know what’s best for our lives. But I know when I surrender my desires when they’re not working, and let the Universe take over, what is truly best for me always shows up — those unanswered prayers meant just for me.