51: Matchmaker Owls

51: Matchmaker Owls

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Matchmaker Owls

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.

~Thomas Merton, Love and Living

The owl spread its fluffy white wings against a luminous sky and stared straight at me with amber eyes. I stood in front of the watercolor painting, completely captivated. The scene had a dreamlike quality that was mesmerizing. I’d never seen an owl in real life, yet I felt a very strong connection to this magnificent being. I wondered why it was calling to me so powerfully.

Eventually, I tore myself away and enjoyed the rest of the art show, but I returned several times for a closer look. The owl’s effect on me was magical and magnetic, but the cost was more than I’d ever dreamt of spending on a painting. Though I earned a reasonable living as a garden designer, the owl was a luxury way beyond my budget. I told myself to be sensible, and yet I couldn’t bear to leave him behind. It was hard to understand why I was so smitten.

I tracked down the artist, a young woman with dark, soulful eyes.

“I’ve fallen in love with your owl, but I’m not sure if I can find the money,” I said. “Would you hold it for me for one week? I’m hoping to get payment for a design I’ve done by then.”

“Sure. No one has shown interest yet. Here’s my card. Give me a call either way,” she said.

I went home, my mind swirling between hope and anxiety.

Rummaging through my desk the next morning, preparing to pay bills, I found a postdated check. It was for one dollar less than the cost of the watercolor! Surely this was a sign that it was meant to be — the owl would be mine to enjoy every day at home. I called the artist and arranged to pick up the painting after I cashed the check.

I hung it right over my bed. Every morning when I woke, I’d gaze at the shimmering white owl and fill my soul with his beauty. I opened my arms as wide as his wings were spread, imagining my heart expanding along with his. I’d learned in yoga class that opening the heart chakra would heal past hurts and bring love into my life. The owl showed me how to practice this every morning.

My heart opened a little more each day, and I began to picture the love I longed for coming my way. But my imagination didn’t match up with reality. Years after a painful divorce, I was still single. I missed sharing the joys and sorrows of my life. Each morning as I woke up alone, and each evening as I drifted off to sleep alone, I yearned for a loving companion.

Sometimes, I felt hopeless at the thought of remaining single forever. I saw a bleak future stretching out ahead of me. Sure, I had meaningful work and wonderful friends, but an important part of life was missing.

One evening, I called a good friend for relief.

She listened sympathetically, and then asked, “Would you consider seeing a psychic? I can recommend someone I talk to when I feel stuck. He’s very helpful.”

“I guess it couldn’t hurt,” I said. “Anything to give me a ray of hope. And if he says there’s no love in my future, at least I can stop dreaming of the impossible!”

In his white shirt and tailored slacks, Don looked like an accountant, but his deck of tarot cards was as mysterious as the trance he entered after closing his eyes. I waited impatiently for him to come back to life. My heart thumped with anxiety as the minutes ticked by ever so slowly. Finally, he opened his eyes, picked one card, and held it up. Jagged bolts of lightning ran through the image.

“You will meet a man who will take you on a roller coaster ride. It will be a very emotional relationship,” he said.

“Really? I’m not much for thrills,” I said. “This sounds scary!”

“Don’t worry; you’re strong enough to handle it.”

“When will I meet him?”

“Some time in the next six months.”

Hmm. So now I had the watercolor of the owl to help me open my heart chakra, and the psychic’s promise that a man was coming into my life soon.

When I met Tom at a friend’s potluck dinner, I didn’t guess he was the one. A short, bald man with sparkling blue eyes and a warm smile, he was nothing like the tall, dark type I had always been attracted to. Still, after a friendly chat, we exchanged business cards. His had his barbershop quartet logo on it, and mine had a magnolia flower. I went to hear him sing in a local production of The Music Man, and he came to hear me read from my new book, Garden Retreats, at a local bookstore. He invited me to Carmen at the opera, and I took him for a stroll through the Chinese Gardens.

Little by little, we learned about each other’s very different yet interesting worlds. He visited my garden, and we sat and talked for hours, which melted away like minutes.

“Tell me about your hopes and dreams,” he said, and then listened attentively. This was completely new for me; usually, I was the one who asked the questions and listened.

One evening, Tom invited me to stop by his house on our way to dinner at a nearby restaurant. The contemporary house was spacious and welcoming, with framed art on the walls. And there, right over his bed, was a photograph of an owl with its wings spread.

“Oh, my God. I can’t believe you have an owl over your bed! I have a painting of an owl over mine!”

“I’ve always loved owls,” Tom said. He showed me a collection of owl sculptures that stood on his dresser.

“This is amazing,” I said. And I thought to myself, It’s almost as if we were destined to meet, with our owls connecting us.

True to the psychic’s prediction, our relationship is very emotional, with lots of exciting highs and tumultuous conflicts that at times rock us to the core. But our love is strong enough to hold us together even when storms blow through. After all, our mysterious and wise owls showed us we belonged together.

~Barbara Blossom Ashmun

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