SQuire & Louise - My Shoes Fit You
I had never said "I Love You" without some twinge of ignorance, way down deep. "Do I really know what love is?" I asked myself.
"Am I in love, infatuation, or just a desire to be in love?"
On those rare occasions when I entertained the big question - "Is this your soul mate?" - my head was mute.
Married twice, twice divorced. That was pretty much the answer.
Yes, I was indeed ignorant about love.
Attending church alone on Sunday mornings, I tried unsuccessfully to submerge my envy for a loving couple who always sat three pews ahead of me. I watched the way they would position themselves, shoulders touching, turning, smiling at each other; and the way they seemed to communicate through a secret language of eyes and body known only to themselves. Through the crowd of departing parishioners I'd watch them leaving church holding hands, providing a wonderful model for their teenaged children, not to mention the rest of us.
That couple made me realize that even though I had been married most of my adult life, I had spent years imprisoned in loneliness. I deeply wanted what they had.
So do you.
Let me assure you: there is hope.
What I thought would never happen in my lifetime - that I would be the Prince who someday placed the slipper on the foot of Cinderella - did happen! And when the perfect piece fell into place in the jigsaw puzzle of my life it arrived with a clarity comparable to every soul mate couple I have interviewed. One partner or the other almost always says, "That's the man (or the girl) I'm going to marry." They had found the one-and they knew immediately.
When I found myself together with Louise-thirty years after I'd serendipitously played a role in her getting into television-I knew!
Even better, so did she!
The first time I ever saw Louise DuArt, she burst on stage at Madison Square Gardens with a green face and a long nose with a wart on it.
"I've since had that removed," she now says, going for the joke. What should I expect? She's a comedienne.
But back then, Louise was Witchiepoo in the Krofft's H.R.Puff N'Stuff road show. She had that special stage presence that reached out and almost grabbed the audience by the lapels. She had the makings of a star!
Not long after that I was working with the Kroffts on a Saturday morning block of programs under my charge at ABC. We'd come up with the idea to create a rock group that would wraparound all of our shows. When it came to casting a comedienne, I offered, "What about the girl who played Witchiepoo?"
That was all I did. No big deal in my mind. But, from Louise's perspective, that was her first big break in TV.
Weeks later I met her for the first time, for a moment or two, at an advertiser function, and over the course of the next three decades briefly saw her at ABC Affiliate events or back stage at Good Morning America. During each of those encounters she was married. So was I.
Several years passed.
My second marriage had broken up, and I was running a cable TV network in Washington, DC. I had traveled to New York City to pick up my son Grant, where he was living with his mother, to take him on a long anticipated, fun-filled weekend in Canada coinciding with a meeting I had scheduled in Toronto. But, at the last minute, the meeting was canceled. The trip had to be called off, and my son was upset.
"What do you say we stay in New York and take in a Broadway musical?" I said, trying to broker some enthusiasm.
I have learned that kids with developmental challenges, as Grant has, seem to universally enjoy music even if they are unable to read and write.
Grant's brightness was restored when I spotted a musical in the New York Times called Dreamstuff and exclaimed that the star-Louise DuArt-was an old friend.
"Hey, maybe we can meet her backstage!"
His gloom dissipated.
After the show Grant and I met with Louise and her manager Howie Rapp for a cappuccino. We jibber jabbered, catching up on intervening years. When I inquired about her husband, her reply startled me.
"He left me for another woman," she said.
"Oh. I'mÉgoing through a transition, myselfÉ" I stuttered, covering, as best I could, the skipping of my heart.
Perhaps my heart was just coming to realize what my mind had been denying in every previous encounter with Louise over the three previous decades. For, in retrospect, every time I'd run into her, I'd had this uplifting feeling - the kind you have just after a thunderstorm, when the air is filled with ions - soaring my spirits.
I was wondering what to make of those feelings, when a godwink became apparent. A sign of reassurance.
"What a godsend you came today," she said. "You just saw our last show. It closed."
"Really? Grant and I were supposed to be in Canada today," I quickly rejoined, "but our trip was canceled at the last minute."
We've since marveled at that godwink - the divine timing that caused our paths to intersect on that day - and how our lives continue to be monitored and mapped from above on a sort-of grand Global Positioning System which we have playfully renamed
"God's Positioning System."
Later on, I found out that Louise had called her mother after our post-theater coffee, and said, "Today I met the man I'm going to marry."
A short while later, that's exactly what happened-Louise and I were married-soul mates cast in a fairy tale called "Happily Ever After."
Why did it take so long to find the perfect fit in the jigsaw puzzle of my life?
I have no idea. But, Louise and I are clear about this truth we learned the hard way: that jamming together two pieces of a puzzle-no matter how much we wanted them to fit, in a moment of desire, or out of a false sense of obligation, never resulted in true happiness.
As Louise and I look at our lives through the long lenses of time, we have to admit that God has had a lot of patience with us-and our choices. Perhaps it is only fair that we be expected to have patience with Him.
In the end, patience paid off.
Louise and I are perfect for each other.
And when the fit is perfect, life is perfect.
Denzel & Pauletta - The Match Made In Heaven
The first time Denzel Washington and Pauletta Pearson were in the same place at the same time was on the set of a 70s film in New York in which they both had won parts. From a distance Pauletta curiously eyed the recent college graduate who'd been cast in the lead. Denzel was handsome and self-assured. But, they had no scenes together. No conversation.
Six months passed before an opportunity arose for them to speak. By happenstance they both were invited to a party given by one of Pauletta's friends from Broadway. A conversation commenced and it was non-stop. Who knew they so much in common?
Pauletta was charmed by Denzel's interest in what she had to say.
Denzel was taken with her engaging personality and attractiveness. "She was wearing Purple with stripes," he remembers clearly.
That night a spark was ignited.
Not 24 hours later, an extraordinary godwink occurred. Pauletta had friends who were appearing in a play at a small, out-of-the-way theater in Manhattan. She decided to attend.
Quite independently, Denzel heard about the same play. He also decided to attend, slipping into his seat at the last minute after the play had already begun. But, imagine the surprise on both of their faces when the lights went up at intermission and they found that, all along, they had been seated right next to each other.
What did that godwink mean in their lives?
Years later Pauletta would say, "Our whole introduction to each other felt like it was set up by the heavens."
That night, their embryonic relationship moved up a step when Pauletta invited Denzel to join her friends after the show at a cast party downtown. As they departed the theater Pauletta started for the subway. With quiet bravado, Denzel stopped her.
"Let's take a cab," he said.
"Hummm. I like his style," thought Pauletta.
But, recalling his growing panic as the cab ride seemed to go on and on - well beyond his means to pay for it - Denzel now laughs at himself. "I was burning a hole in that meter with my eyes. I kept asking, 'How far did you say that party was?'"
Eventually, Denzel came clean. He admitted he didn't have enough money to cover the fare.
"I thought: 'There goes my food money for the next week'," laughs Pauletta, "But, I still like his style."
That evening was the beginning of something big for both of them.
A few years later, they were married in Pauletta's hometown of Newton, South Carolina. Subsequently their four children have been raised in a household filled with love, where family comes first. Pauletta and Denzel have worked hard to minimize Hollywood pressures on their children, growing up in a home where their Oscar-winning father endures the travails of celebrity and tabloid distortion.
The couple credits their faith for family stability.
"Just be honest, work hard, and have faith," Denzel counsels his kids. He adds, "I used to think that what I did for a living-acting-was my life, but when we had that first child, acting became making a living, the child was life."
In large part, their values were passed on to them by their own parents.
"Paulette grew up in one of those close-knit families," says Denzel, "The kind where everybody comes to the airport to see you off. They're there on the runway with the ice cooler, the collard greens, and the chicken and potato salad. And when it's time to leave, everybody's crying, waving at the plane 'til they can't see it anymore. It is something to see."
A strong spiritual foundation is surely a highly significant factor in Pauletta and Denzel's matrimonial success, but they also rely on mutual respect.
What does she admire the most about her husband? Pauletta easily answers: "The way we can talk to each other about anything, his intelligence, his special qualities as a father, and the way he can take a negative and turn it into a positive."
Just as quickly Denzel can list things he loves the most about his wife: "Her strength, her friendship, and the way we laugh together."
"Denzel and I are both spiritually based," says Pauletta, always mindful that it was a powerful godwink that had once placed them side by side in a darkened theater.
Build On The Rock
Building a relationship on the rock solid foundation of mutual faith is a theme you will hear over and over in the true stories of happiness that are in this book.
There is a lot to be said for a couple like Pauletta and Denzel who can rise above the temptations and pressures of Hollywood, to have a model marriage.
Advising how to get to that place, they are unequivocal: their marriage works because it is not just between the two of them-it is a commitment of three, with God in the middle. That was reaffirmed in 1995 when Pauletta and Denzel renewed their wedding vows in a ceremony that took place in South Africa, performed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Let Me Repeat: There IS A Perfect Fit For You
Take your mind back to childhood.
There you are, standing in the backyard, looking into a star-filled sky. You uttered "I wish I may, I wish I might" and you believed that all your wishes could come true.
From that time on, every person in your life who decided they had the right tell you what to do, said "Grow up."
Unfortunately, you listened.
You began to accept their notion of "reality" - that wishes never really come true. Wishes were for "dreamers." And "dreamers" sounded so negative.
But let's bring that star-filled sky back into focus.
We do live in a perfect universe.
Scientists say there is such perfection in the way the earth, the sun, the stars all fit together, that if one planet had been placed in the sky just a teeny bit differently, we wouldn't be here today.
Staying with the big picture, think about how almost all of life on earth is sustained by the perfect harmony of the seasons, the sun, and the cycles of life.
Now, zooming from the expanse of space, letting your mind's eye focus in on the image a newborn child, see those five little fingers and five tiny toes. Add five amazing senses, and you are looking at the creation of harmonious perfection.
That little person is you.
So listen to this: if perfection exists in that which is as large as the universe and as miniature as a baby's toe, why wouldn't it also be likely that God has created a perfect design for your life that includes a perfect soul mate?
In Hebrew they have a perfect word: bashert. It means "your intended one."
This is the simple truth of this book: your bashert is there, your intended one is right there in that pile of puzzle pieces called "My Life."
Make the right choices.
Don't jam yourself together with an imperfect match.
A man named Paul expressed the point this way: he said, "We don't know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. But what is perfect will someday appear, and what isn't perfect will then disappear." That was written a few thousand years ago in the Bible.