For nothing will be impossible with God. – Luke, 1:37
The mountain in L’Alpiniste is a glacial boulder floating in mid-air. The cloud is blue. The sky is white. In a climate too frigid to support life stands an underdressed figure unaffected by the cold, a cat strapped to his back like a knapsack. Nothing about this scene reflects reality. Nothing about this scene is possible.
Why did what I want seem so impossible: to be in love, to have a man in my life? The right man, of course. In my head, I knew what he looked like. In my head, I knew what his personality and his character were like. But I wasn’t crossing paths with him anywhere in the streets or parks of Brooklyn. He wasn’t showing up on eHarmony or OkCupid or Bumble, either.
Online dating is a numbers game, my friend Kate told me. Take her, for example. She’d spent a year looking, and she’d gone on over a hundred dates before landing on Alexander. She wasn’t the only one who had found her significant other online. In our circle of friends alone, there were two others. “There’s a man for you out there,” she assured me, “You just have to keep looking.”
She wasn’t wrong. There was indeed a man for me out there. But I would find him only when I stopped insisting on looking for him on my own with the absurd little list of criteria I had created in my head, as if the enterprise of love is an intellectual one. I would find him only when I gave myself over like the cat in the painting, if I let the only one who knows what my heart truly desires lead the search. The one who can do the impossible. The mountaineer: God.
« Emmène-moi à ton endroit préféré, » Antoine says. Antoine, my Antoine: the man God had put out for me to find under the low-hanging branches of the maple tree at the riverside entrance to Donigian Park on the west side of Providence. The one who walks beside me now two years later down St-Jean through the old city, up the Côte de la Fabrique, past the Château Frontenac and up to the Pierre-Dugua-de Mons Terrace. The one who, on this perch overlooking the St. Lawrence River, gets down on one knee and offers me a beautiful ring of his own design.
Will I marry him, this man my heart has always desired? Will I marry him, this man only God could conceivably have imagined for me, this man only God could have dreamed possible? What a silly question.