Friday, December 14, 2012

universal love: a story from istanbul

Roberto in Turkey

one evening while living in istanbul, i took a cab ride to the other side of town to meet my husband for a dinner date.

my cab driver was the sweetest little born-and-raised turkish man.  happy-as-could-be and eager to chat. but with him knowing only a few words of english and me--nothing beyond a sorry excuse of a "teşekkür ederim" meaning 'thank you' in turkish, it was not the easiest go at communicating with each other.

he gave a hearty attempt at asking what the reason was for my outing-- 'why you go?" he asked.

as simply as possible, i responded "to meet my husband". the confused look on his face was not promising. i gave it another shot, holding up my left hand and pointing to my ring i tried again "h-u-s-b-a-n-d".

"ahhhhh!" he exclaimed with the biggest, most genuine turkish smile i'd ever seen.

enjoying his reaction, i lifted up my hand again and pointing to my ring added "one-month-ago".

"only one month!?" he repeated enthusiastically.

"tebrikler!" he added, graciously offering me a congratulations.

"thank you!" i replied in a giddy-little-girl-kinda-way. such a charming little cab driver.

and then, before i could even think of anything else to say, he continued "you very much in love."

i would have thought this to be a question, and had to replay it through my head a couple times, because it was said more as a statement---was it just his broken english that caused the awkward inflection at the end?

but his sweet eyes looking back at me in the rear-view mirror said it all. this was not a question. this was a statement. he knew that i was head-over-heels in love.

i grinned, " yes i am."

"seni seviyorum" he continued, "means 'i love you' in our language."


he grinned, looked forward, content as could be and continued driving.

seni seviyorum. it sung so sweetly.

the truth is that love is universal. and  "i love you" is something that the whole world can understand--it holds the same meaning, no matter the language its said in. and even though our communication was limited in the cab that evening by our language barriers, when he said those words--we both knew exactly and wholly what was to be understood. yes, i am in love. and whether or not he had yet to find that special someone, he knew and understood its significance.

i woke up this morning with this experience on the mind.

see, i spent a good percentage of my younger life focused on my future, constantly dreaming of 'that one' and of what finding 'true love' really would be like.

and through those many years of dreaming, i learned some harsh lessons. lessons like--if someone doesn't love you enough early on, they never will. no matter how long you hold out. i learned that hanging onto those painful relationships will cause more harm then one may realize. it will leave little scars, formed by small but piercing cuts that built up over time. like a paper cut, they may not sting initially but give it time---they will.

i learned that most people are like me--they have to learn from mistakes. sure, there a few lucky ones out there that maybe get it right the first time. but the rest of us mortals have to try a thing or two, fail miserably, and then realize that it really is just the way our parents told us it would be.

lessons that will stay with me forever. up until that day when i realized i was in love with a man who loved me back. a man who was just as crazy about me as i was about him. who wanted me like i wanted him. who was willing to open his heart and love me forever.

and finding him was the most important lesson of them all.

a lesson of trusting that god had some better plan for me than i had for myself.  realizing that all those nights of tears and painful breakups were because god knew there was someone else out there for me--someone that i could share a true and powerful love with.

i had this detailed picture of what my future would be.

i'm a visual person.

a picture of a kitchen filled with stainless steal appliances and refurbished brick. sleek, hardwood floors and the smell of whole wheat noodles and fettuccine sauce on the stove. some easy going music playing in the background. our first kid--a baby boy-- playing on his blanky. sitting on top of our natural white long-haired hide (yes, i had this down to every detail)

my tall, dark and handsome husband stepping in from work. giving baby a kiss on the head and then making his way quickly over to me as i grab the boiling-over pasta to take it off of the heat.

his arms grab my waist. i swing my hands around and lock them around his neck. and just take a moment, to sway back in forth to the gentle humming of some soft instrumentals.

yeah, this is what i pictured. and though i could imagine it so clearly, i don't know if i ever believed it would actually happen.

and now here i am. married to a very tall, dark, ridiculously handsome man--who is extremely smart, educated and successful. who  literally took every dream, every past picture i had of kitchens and hide rugs, every plan i ever had for my future, and  blew it right out of the water. giving me more love than i ever knew could be felt. making more of my dreams come true than i could have ever imagined. making me feel more beautiful with every day. leaving me every morning with a kiss and coming home to me every night with love that seems to grow greater by the day.

i'm not sure how it happened,and i absolutely 100% don't deserve it. but i thank my heavenly father every day.

tomorrow is our three month anniversary. we're still so new to this whole marriage thing, but we plan on keeping at it and loving each other more and more--no matter the stage of life, no matter what country we're in, no matter what jobs we take or how many kids we have.

the love will continue growing.


something the whole world understands.


seni seviyorum my darling.


*the picture is a favorite of mine. one that i captured in between a few others taken at the blue mosque in istanbul turkey. stay tuned, this next week i will be doing a small series on our time in istanbul-- along with a travel guide. i'm so excited. i love istanbul with all my heart and miss it dearly. it truly was our first home.

and please, let me know if there is anything specific you'd like to know about istanbul! :)