I don’t really believe in “meant to be.” I was lucky to meet my husband, but I don’t see it as part of some master plan, some universal necessity. That said, it definitely changed my personal universe.
I met Tom during my junior year of college in New York. I was going through a difficult time following an assault, and he was going through the worst time of his life—more on that later. The timing was terrible. We met online. I had started online dating in an attempt to meet strange (but safe) people who I could maybe befriend and definitely use in my writing (I was taking screenwriting courses at the time). After some strange messages back and forth about Quentin Tarantino, we agreed to meet at an escalator near the clock in Grand Central Station. We walked to the East 60s and split a raspberry tart. Or perhaps we each had our own tart. Dessert is important, and memories are relative.
For the first hour or so, it seemed like he was putting on airs, so I didn’t feel particularly interested. But at some point, he suddenly dropped the act. In retrospect, he remembers feeling that he was too tired to keep it going. He told me his mother’s memorial service was the next day, and he showed me the eulogy he had written. It was not a normal date. And I’ve never gotten to know someone so quickly. I don’t remember how I felt or how I reacted to the news of his mother’s death, but Tom remembers I took his hand.
On that first date, and I can’t remember when exactly, he told me he wished he believed in God, but he didn’t. As for me, I wrote my Bat Mitzvah speech about my lack of belief in God. This is, perhaps, connected to my lack of belief in “meant-to-be.” My religious friends worry that I’m lonely for lack of belief. Tom and I celebrate Jewish holidays with friends and family, and we sometimes light candles on Shabbat (we use my mother-in-law’s candlesticks). But it’s not for God. It’s for connection. We believe, more than anything, in our connection to the people around us. If anything is meant to be, it’s this: if you are very lucky, you will make some incredible connections. You might marry one of them. You might lose some of them. Some may leave and come back. Sometimes, life will be really hard and weird. And then your people will be there because they are, well, meant to be.
Rebecca Wellner and Tom Schecter have been together for six years and married for three. They live in Queens, New York, where they enjoy good food, beautiful music, and spending time with all the wonderful humans in their lives.