Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Love Story

I had an apartment for rent. It was a sweet two-bedroom place in a beach community. Built in the 1920s, it had bead-board ceilings, tiny closets and a huge front deck with a view of the water. Its charm and location had always made it easy to rent. Except for this time.
It was high summer, that time of year when everyone wants to live at the beach. I showed the apartment to countless prospects, lowered the rent a couple of times, heard many glowing compliments about the place, but still I had no renter. After weeks of this, I realized that I had not been very "on purpose" in my approach. I hadn't taken the time to set some intentions about who I wanted for tenants. So I took a few minutes to think about that.
I decided that I wanted a couple living here. I didn't care if they were straight or gay. Young or old. Or what their ethnic backgrounds were. I simply wanted tenants who were happy with themselves as individuals, and as a couple. No drama. Once I decided that, I waited to see who would show up. 
A day later, a young woman from the neighborhood, whom I'd known for a couple of years, told me that she was interested in renting the apartment. She said she couldn't swing the rent on her own, so she would have to find a roommate. My heart sank a bit. I really wanted a couple in that space. But on the other hand, I had always felt a lot of affection for this young woman and I knew that she would find a good person to share that space with her. So I let it go and resigned myself to the idea that I'd have roommates for tenants. (Besides, the law is pretty clear on this - I can reject prospective tenants on the basis of financial or criminal issues, but not because they fail to fit my preferences.)
She ran an ad on craigslist that night and right away got a response from a man who was eager to find a place near the beach. She had had male roommates in college and didn't see his gender as a problem. So they met for coffee, talked about their lifestyle preferences and decided that they could make the roommate situation work. She called me to say that he would contact me to set up a time to see the apartment.
As soon as I met him, I liked him. We did the apartment walkthrough and he took a rental application to fill out. After he left, I thought, "Hmmm, if he's not dating anyone and she's not dating anyone, these two would make a great couple." Then I laughed and shrugged off the idea. The important thing was that I had finally found good tenants for my apartment.
A few weeks after they moved in, they had a house warming party and invited me to join them. After I was introduced to their friends and families, I got something to eat and started looking around at the way they had decorated the apartment. I began to notice photos of the two of them here and there and in each of them, they seem to be standing a little closer to each other than roommates ordinarily would be. I have to admit that I hadn't completely let go of the idea that they would make a great couple. So I chalked this observation up to my imagination, until I saw hinged frames with a photo of the two of them on one side, and what appeared to be a poem on the other. 
The title of the poem was "An Ode to Craigslist," written by the male roommate. In it, he thanks the online service for bringing him not only a wonderful roommate, but a woman who is so much more. As I continued to read, I felt the tears well up in my eyes. I realized that I got what I had asked for. Not quite in the way I expected, but in a way more wonderful than I would have imagined. I was looking for people already in a good relationship to come rent the apartment. I never dreamed that two bright, happy individuals would rent the apartment first and then become a joyful couple.
As long as they lived in this building, I felt that there was a happy little glow about the place. It was a bittersweet day when, just before their lease was up, they came to tell me that they had bought a house and were moving out. I was happy for them; they were so excited to move into their first home. I was also sad to see them leave the beach house. 
On Christmas morning of the year they moved out, they came down to take a walk along the beach. He suggested that they walk by the beach house for old times' sake. And here in front of the building, he asked her to marry him. She said yes. They rang my doorbell to tell me the news. I cried.
Fast forward a few years -- their daughter is now 3-1/2 and I get to see her often. We spend time at the beach where she builds sand castles and hunts for pretty rocks. She is a beautiful little girl and I feel so fortunate to have her in my life. In just a few weeks, she will have a new baby brother. We can't wait to meet him!  
One of the best things about a love story is that it never ends. It has its own life, its own vibration. That vibration ripples far and wide, blessing everyone and everything it touches. Think about your life: what love story can you tell?