B’shert- This wonderful Yiddish word tickles me every time I hear it or say it, because it poses a question that I have yet to answer and perhaps never will. It translates to: “a person’s soulmate, considered as predestined or ideal, any good or fortuitous match.” I extend this concept beyond the romantic relationship realm. I often wonder how much of our life events occur at random or if indeed they are preplanned by a Divine script writer. An ancillary question: are we co-authors of the story or at the whim of a Source outside of us?
While on the phone with my 86 year old mother recently, we were speaking as we have many times, about the way she and my father met in 1955. Mom had been involved with another man for 7 years and although the subject of marriage had arisen, he had yet to ‘pop the question’. He then stood her up on New Years Eve which had her writing him off as reliable husband material. Later that year, she was invited to a party given by a friend who had just returned from her honeymoon and had gathered together those who had not been at her wedding reception. ‘Mr. Unreliable’ was there as well. He beckoned my mother over to talk to him. Her self assured response? “If you want to speak to me, you come to me.” Way to go, Mom!
Another man was witnessing this interaction and thought “This woman has chutzpah!” (another Yiddishism that translates as ‘guts’) He walked over to her, introduced himself and by the end of the night, he drove her home. When my Mom arrived, she informed my grandmother “Tonight I met the man I am going to marry.” Their first date was at a Chinese restaurant and when she cracked open the fortune cookie, it read: “You’d better prepare your hope chest.” Now, it gets even better than that. As they compared notes, they found that not only did they have this one friend in common, but both of them worked out regularly at their local Y and had never crossed paths. The relationship proceeded and the next year they were married…and the rest is history. Had she married this other man, I would not have been the ‘me’ that is writing this entry. But then, that’s a whole ‘nother life observation piece.
I asked my Mom how two people from different sides of the track, my Dad from working class Russian immigrant, Orthodox Jewish stock and my Mom from culturally, but not strictly observant middle class, American born Jewish background were able to create and grow a nearly 52 year marriage. She responded as she always does: “We just loved each other.” We mused about something even more mysterious. I asked her how both she and my Dad knew this woman who had invited them to the same party. My Dad had grown up with her in South Philadelphia and my Mom didn’t recall how she herself had met her. I asked her what if they had met her, so that many years later, they could both be invited to this party, meet and marry?
So often in my own life, I ask that question. Yesterday, I got together with two dear friends (separately) and explored this concept. They are accustomed to my “Edie questions”, that are rarely on the surface. They each came into my life at a time when I was deep in self inquiry and re-invention. Each of them were door openers to other people and ideas that have enriched my life and brought me to the next level of evolution and they acknowledged that I did the same for them. I call it the Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail that I follow with curiosity and delight, wondering where it will lead me. What if it truly is be’shert that we were to meet and enrich each others’ lives? Hard to imagine my life without either of these amazing men and even though I don’t see them that often, we are inextricably linked by a Force that I don’t completely comprehend.
As you gaze in the reflection of your own life, are there people and events that seem to wear the label of be’shert?