Is love eternal? Are lovers somehow entwined forever? In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Cat’s Cradle, he explains that people move through the centuries together as a connected group. In life after life, a person keeps meeting and interacting with the same souls.
Could this be possible? Could love survive death? Interestingly, if you’ve taken a marriage vow, there is only a promise to be bound together until death. But maybe it’s even longer, maybe even eternity.
There’s no smoking gun, or even a twang from Cupid’s bow, but there are hints.
In 1997, my wife Ann and I moved to Arkansas. I knew we both had some long lost roots in Arkansas, and living here made it easier to do research so I started looking at genealogy records at the public library.
One day, I was trying to track down my great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah Woolcott. I got lucky and found him in the 1850 census of Pope County. I was elated to find this information and was poring over the hand-written page excitedly. Then I noticed something that blew me away.
Living right next door to my ancestors were my wife’s ancestors. This is truly amazing. About 160 years ago, our families were farming adjacent plots of land.
Ann and I met in 1966, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we both grew up. We spent our wedding night in Russelville, just a few miles from where our ancestors had lived. Our honeymoon was in the Ozarks. We didn’t know why, but we both felt somehow attracted to Arkansas and kept returning here again and again over the years.
When I found information documenting that our ancestors must have known each other, there was a kind of cosmic click in my head, an explanation for our feelings.
I mean, what are the odds? Time and distance had long since separated our families, and the place we met was hundreds of miles and more than a century distant.
Was it just a very random coincidence? Maybe, but maybe not. Perhaps people are a coalescence of past lives, refined through time. Maybe love is not transitory, but ordered, and survives, jumping from one generation to the next.
Perhaps the love of your life is even more, perhaps love is timeless, the only constant that endures.