I didn’t know Favorite was the one like I’d know I’d won the lottery. I didn’t know he was the one like I’d know I was on the right career path, or that I’d found a long lost friend or that puzzle piece I’d been missing. I didn’t know he was the one like I’d know where I was headed if someone tried to surprise me and started driving toward Disneyland. It wasn’t that way at all.
The second most popular question in my married life is, by far: “But how did you know he was The One?” It’s a brilliant question to ask, really – fun to hear about, and excellent information to add to your decision making repertoire if you’re single and seeking the one at this very moment. When I was single, I was constantly curious how other folks knew, how they made that ultimate choice, and on what factors they were basing their decision.
I didn’t know he was the one like I’d know I was pregnant. Didn’t know it like a firework going off or a lightbulb coming on, didn’t discover it like a forgotten $20 bill in my coat pocket. Nothing was written in the sky, our eyes didn’t meet once and communicate lifetimes, and I still can’t tell what he’s thinking half the time. I didn’t know he was the one because I suddenly recognized my soulmate.
I suppose I should admit that I don’t really believe in the one. I believe in free will, in a God who gives us choices and wants us to have to make them. I suppose you could say I believe in the ones… I believe there are, clearly, certain people you’re meant to meet, meant to be changed by, meant to learn from, and that usually you’ll pick one of these ones who speak to your spirit to partner up with. But I don’t believe there’s a mighty One waiting around out there for everyone… I believe you make your One your One when you choose him or her.
That said, I didn’t know Favorite was the one the way I thought I would. For years, anytime an interesting boy or man had come into my life, he’d managed to become all things to me in no time flat. Bells would ring, stars would align, and suddenly this someone would be my whole world, everything good, everything holy – I’d place him on a pedestal and dress him up a little bit like Jesus and essentially put all my hopes in his pocket until he eventually turned out to be human after all. Again and again, there have been sparks and fireworks and butterflies and all the light in all the world has been sucked into the vortex of one man. And with Favorite, it wasn’t that way.
I knew Favorite was the one the way I know I like strawberries. I knew it the way I know comfortable shoes or the way I know I’m happiest by the sea. Favorite arrived in my life without fanfare – there were no immediately life altering moments of sparky chaos, and I didn’t lose myself in him. Instead, he stepped into what was – into my love of God, the world, my self, my life – and made the rest of it brighter. He landed quietly, the way I know I miss someone or the way I know I love a good song. Favorite was a miracle in every way, but he was a quiet miracle, as I believe all the best miracles are. I knew he was the one because he made me want to be something more than I was, made me see people more clearly, made me want to seek God more actively, made me think about what I was doing. When he arrived, it was less “He’s here! He’s here! Ring the bells and clang the cymbals!” and more ” Oh, there you are! Where have you been? Let’s do this.” He was a revelation of the softest kind, a commitment of the surest kind, and a love that started small and left itself room and years to grow.
I didn’t know Favorite was the one like the lighting of a match – like every other relationship in my life that started with a flash of fire, all the heat in the first few minutes and a slow burn to doom from then on out. I knew Favorite was the one like a day that keeps getting warmer… like arriving at the beach and finding a fire pit and building something good from scratch. We learned each other, we laughed, and the sparks came in when they were good and ready and lit everything up like candles instead of burning everything else away. I knew he was the one like I know my name, like I know I’m loved. I knew it like I know that God is good.