Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Love Story










We all have a love story. And each one is beautiful! I love hearing life stories, especially love stories. Mine is rather unusual; I know it looks long, but it is worth sharing it:


I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. On my mid 20s, I was found with a traumatic divorce and a 2 1/2 years old son, blind since his birth. At the time, I thought I would never be married again, mostly because I was so afraid and hurt, plus I knew that in my culture it would be very hard for another man to accept my blind child as his own. Not only that, I absolutely didn't have time for a relationship; I had to work, and all my money had to go to bills and day care, I didn't have extra for dates...
Although I was not very religious at the time, my experience was so intense and painful, that I draw myself wholeheartedly to God for answers...In my prayers, I understood that my son was the light for my life. This is where my spiritual path have started and oh, what a beautiful journey!...
I started diving into books, seminars, self help programs, anything I could find to give me some inspiration and support. Meanwhile, my family's business was based on textiles, home goods, linens and accessories and with the help of my parents I opened a small store, a sort of bed and bath linen boutique. A long the way, I started taking yoga classes and participating in spiritual, self-help classes, to a point that I decided to become an instructor myself. All I cared was to help others that have been through similar pain with mine ...
Then a yoga class friend of mine came one day to my store, telling me that there is a great spiritual teacher from America that teaches meditation and Shiatsu massage, -an acupressure healing technique-, and if I would be interested joining her taking some classes. Very firmly I explained that I didn't have money for more classes and I was working too much, I had no time for my son Georgie. Besides, my English was not enough for taking such complicated class in English. The guy didn't know a word in Greek. How could I possibly do it? She tried to convince me explaining how my yoga teaching and massage could be a great package for a future career, but I was just not interested. Plus the classes were taking place on the opposite part of Athens where I lived, and I didn't have transportation.
Since then, my friend occasionally reminded me about the classes, but I always turned her down. Massage? Me? English? Two nights a week? That far? No way!...
One day, she came boldly and said:"Here is such a great opportunity, don't let it go! This man is amazing, so sweet, so spiritual, so genuine! Even if you don't care about massage, it would be great to meet him-he is a real teacher! And then who knows may be he can make a financial arrangement for the class...Just call him and see if he can help you..."
My thirst for spiritual guidance was enough to make me pick up the phone... With my minimal broken English, I asked for Mark, and I was surprised by his clear sweet voice. I explained I wanted to learn but I didn't have time nor money... I explained that the store was only closed two evenings a week, and that's all the time I had available besides working...
"Perfect! he exclaimed; those are the evenings I give the class. Don't worry about the money, I trust you!

Oh boy, I was shocked! All of a sudden, my mom decided to come visit us twice a week, because she wanted to spend more time with her grand son. So, she offered babysitting for me ...during the class.

In the beginning I found the lessons completely overwhelming but extremely interesting. The language was a huge barrier, but with the dictionary and somebody's help who knew better English, it was do-able. Before I knew, I couldn't wait until the next session came. The nine week session program passed by very quickly and on the last one I found myself really depressed that was over; I realized I won't see Mark again and soon he would go back to the States, was I in love?
During the pot luck- the last good bye class we had, the group socialized and casually talked about different things. People were talking about movies and popular plays and concerts, and when I said that I don't know much about anything because simply I haven't been out for a couple of years, everybody was very surprised. “We should take you out some day” Mark said randomly...
For a while I was very confused with my emotions, and I had hard time to define what was going on. I always felt so comfortable next to him, like I knew him for ever. What was strange and hard to grasp was that I felt I really cared for him, but I was very intimidated by the idea that he was my teacher. Plus I knew he had a relationship at the time. Oh no, that's not for me, no way...

One day, in my meditation, I had this illuminating "Why not?" idea, "why you think you are not good enough or too little for him?" The thought was enlightening but I buried it deeply in my emotions. All I knew was that I meant to be single for the rest of my life and I couldn't fight it. I made peace with myself and I went on with my life...

A few months later, a regular work day, the phone rang at the store. Mark's voice on the other end, made my ears deaf and my heartbeat running like crazy! I couldn't believe it was him. He said he was was away for a few months and he came back to continue teaching. And he called to see how I was doing. That simple. Right there he asked me out. He apologized for the short notice...
Are you kidding me? I thought, but I didn't say it... I begged a friend to babysit and she did. On I went to my first amazing, absolutely incredible for me, date. I was nervous and reserved, but he was too and that was equal. I learned that he broke up with his girlfriend a while ago and that made feel very relieved... My some English and his none Greek, made our conversations funny and odd. Many blanks. "Just be there" I was thinking. It was the first time I was connecting to him outside of the class and it felt strange...
But love knows her ways... Before I knew several dates later, we were together. It was so hard for me to wrap it around my head... Mark and I a couple, how strange is that?
I loved his spirituality and his kindness; he loved my simplicity and big heart... I was fascinated with travels oversees around the world and his spiritual journey. He appreciated my cooking, my devotion to my son and my love for God. I started teaching him Greek and when he met Georgie, I was surprised how naturally he played with him. At one point, he asked me to follow him to a trip in India and Nepal. It seemed impossible for me to arrange, but with God everything was possible... This trip, was one of a kind experience for me. Too much to describe... I remember my ecstasy and tears of gratitude facing the tips of Himalaya mountain... I thought I was dreaming, was this happening to me?

Several months later, Mark and I planned to go to a concert, and because it was canceled the last moment, we decided to take a walk up on big hill in the center of Athens. Right on the top, looking at the beautiful views of Athens in the rosie light of dusk, all of a sudden and without any planning he asked me to marry him... I wasn't sure I heard correctly or it was my imagination... All this time together, I never thought, nor I cared if we would be married. I was just absorbing the happiness that was miraculously coming my way...
I said "yes" without much thinking, and a huge sense of fear took me over for the change that was taking over my life.

Soon after that, Mark, Georgie and I, flew to Connecticut to meet his family. His parents hardly could understand what Mark was doing in Greece, so showing up with a Greek woman and a blind child was not a surprise, but they were stunned when we announced we were going to get married! Both Georgie and I were instantly accepted as part of the family.
My parents in the other hand, thought that Mark was a strange guy but very sweet. After all, in their mind they were thrilled that somebody appeared to take over...Have you seen the Big Greek Fat Wedding? That's my story. The only difference was that we got married in Athens in a little Greek Orthodox chapel surrounded by a few family remembers and a couple of friends. The rest is exactly the same with the movie. Mark's parents loved ouzo! Opa!

Ten months later, our daughter Natalia came to bring us lots of joy and happiness! I was so happy to be a mother again, of such a healthy adorable baby!
Our first few years of marriage were very loving but hard. It felt going back to school, starting from preschool. Our different backgrounds, cultures, different lifestyles, and lack of common language claimed a huge gap that was not easy to swallow. But somehow we were soul mates, sharing a very deep love for each other, that seemed to be enough. Besides, my surroundings and my family were filling the blank for me.
In the end of1994, we decided to moved to the US for new beginnings and since we were our only own close relatives, we learned to share, communicate and trust more and oh, what an extraordinary life has been! Since then Mark and I have made leaps and bounds together in many levels and we are growing this amazing relationship and family! On some part of our journey, we both study and practice Christian healing, but at the same time, I was able to get involved with my passion, the home furnishing business and interior design. Today, (many English lessons later), we live in St Louis MO where I practice interior design, Georgie is college graduate and just got his first job and Natalia is a high school junior. Mark, heals and writes...

I love Mark with all my might and heart, and together we daily keep a journal of gratitude for our daily life experience. I thank God for all the blessings he brought into my life; I adore his simplicity, genuine and humble heart, and his in-depth richness in many levels!
Today we are about 20 years together and it feels like yesterday, I heard the shivering voice for first time over the phone! The love that puts us together this day is UN-measurable. We both have grown in many ways, and our relationship gets better and better. My love story is a miracle coming true, a life that I would never believe it is for me to enjoy. Our mutual love for God, love for our kids, love to serve, have brought us together in oneness hard to put in words. I am in AWE for what God can do and I am sending multiple blessings to my friend that insisted for me to take the massage class!

XoXoXo,

1 comment:

  1. I am so blessed to have read your love story, it is so inspiration, as are you and Mark. What a blessing your story will be to everyone who reads it today or this week. Happy Valentines Day to you and Mark. God does indeed work miracles.

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