What a silly question

Only God can give what the heart wants. – Fulton J. Sheen

L’Alpiniste (18 October 2020)

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.

And yet.

Why is what you want so impossible: to be in love, to have a man in your life? The right man, of course. In your head, you know what he looks like. In your head, you know what his personality and his character are like. But you aren’t crossing paths with him anywhere in the streets or parks of Brooklyn. He isn’t showing up on eHarmony or OkCupid or Bumble, either.

Online dating is a numbers game, your friend Kate tells you. 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 your circle of friends alone, there are two others.

“There’s a man for you out there,” Kate assures you, “You just have to keep looking.”

She isn’t wrong. There is indeed a man for you out there. But you will find him only when you stop insisting on looking for him on your own with the absurd little list of criteria you have created in your head, as if the enterprise of love were an intellectual one. You will find him only when you give yourself over like the cat in the painting, if you let the only one who knows what your heart truly desires lead the search. The one who can do the impossible. The mountaineer: God.

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Water stain for L’Alpiniste

“Emmène-moi à ton endroit préféré,” Antoine says. Antoine, your Antoine: the man God had put out for you 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 you 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 you a beautiful ring of his own design.

Will you marry him, this man your heart has always wanted? Will you marry him, this man only God could conceivably have imagined for you, this man only God could have dreamed possible? What a silly question.

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