I heard a speaker say recently that God takes the spaces from the broken places in your hearts and plants something new… and soon a new garden with fragrance and color is blooming from those cracks.

Tonight I read another idea– that the broken places in the heart are there so that light can get in. The book I read this thought in is called Eat Love Pray… and although they were talking in the context of a more Hindu/meditation perspective, the same truth is applied to my own faith. The cracks let in God’s light, and consequently His transformative power, in my life. I like the light analogy a lot better than the garden one.

I’m enjoying reading Eat Love Pray. I appreciate her journey and her search. It’s triggered thoughts and ideas I had forgotten– like how I read a book two years ago about beauty and adding it to one’s life, about what a spiritual truth and exercise is involved in acknowledging and appreciating beauty and including it in one’s life– and how I wanted to make a conscious effort to do just that in practical ways in my own life. Reading Eat Love Pray— the Italy part, that is– reminded me about all of that. In Italy, the author of Eat Love Pray fulfills a dream of learning to speak Italian and allows herself to indulge in savory decadent pastas, pizzas, desserts, gelato and wine while there. Sounds terribly enticing and it makes me want to go to Italy. I actually was in Italy over 20 years ago, and even the food on my student’s meager budget was something to write home about.

Boy, I could write about a lot of things this book is inspiring in me, not just food and beauty, but also traveling. Traveling… sigh. How I love to travel. How I WOULD LOVE to travel.  I’ve got the will, now there’s got to be a way….

Anyway, I’m right now about halfway through the book, in the India part. The author is living in an ashram, and Richard from Texas is sharing bits of his  ideas with her, such as his thoughts on the meaning of a soul mate:

Your problem is you don’t understand what that word [soulmate] means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is like a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.

After thinking about this for a bit, I think there are two kinds of soul-mates. We do often think a soul mate is the one we’d like to spend the rest of our lives with. But the truth is, there is no “perfect fit”, and although some souls can get really close, part of  the wonder of it is being able to share truth with one another; while it is painful, the process of refining and growing is vital. I do agree that a soul mate it like a mirror. A good friend can do the same, if she’s a true friend. People who know us can reveal parts of us, both our strengths and weaknesses, and we can do the same for them. But the key here is knowing one another– “knowing and being known”, I’ve heard it said. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? I think most of us want that (even with the difficult part of hearing things about ourselves that need changing).

And I’m not sure if I agree that a soul mate is really this person that comes in temporarily and then leaves. Sometimes it can be true, as I do think our suffering and trials bring people and events to our lives that transform us, so these events and people are transient. I do think a true soul mate can be found in this earthly life on a more permanent level, but I’m not sure how many actually get down to that level or find someone to connect with. Yet, if we’re blessed to find someone on earth to share in this spiritual journey together on a deep level, safely, in an environment of mutual love and respect for a lifetime… then a soul mate can be found in this earthly life. However, I also think a very good friend will respectfully share truth with us; a good faithful friend can be like that mirror.

Even so, any person — no matter how well they know us, or we know them– can only know so much. There are parts of us that no one may truly know or understand. No one else except us has lived in our shoes.

Ultimately, then, the truest soul mate is the second type, the one sent from heaven: the Holy Spirit. This is the soul mate that has revealed myself to me, more than any other person– and it is as it should be. This is our truest soul mate. Isn’t this the one One who knows us best? tears down our walls? smacks us awake? convicts us? shows us what’s holding  us back? compels us to love? points out areas that need growth? reminds us of the Truth? Yes, the Holy Spirit has that job, and He is always with us. He doesn’t just shake us up, smack us with truth, and then leave. No– he shakes us up, smacks us with truth and then sticks around and does it again! He’s our constant soul mate. And let me tell you, it’s extremely painful when he shows us ourselves, at least it has been for me. But it’s for my own good, and maybe you’ve also found that to be true for you. This is a process with more layers being constantly peeled back, and although it’s painful, the end result is sure better than what He started with. Can I tell you how thankful I am for that? Why? Because all of this is shaping and molding me into who God made me to be. Have you been there, too?

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  John 14:26

But, it gets better. This soul mate not only  knows me, but also intercedes for me when I pray, in groans I cannot express with my limited human language. Amaaaaaziiiiingg!!! Just amazing. Blows me away.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  Romans 8:26

All of this revelation is making me want to sit and have a long talk with a friend over a glass of wine and a slice of authentic Italian pizza. Want to join me? I’d love to hear from you…  what has The Soul Mate has been telling you lately?