“Come on, Allison, it will be fun,” my sister urged, “plus we might even get scholarship money!”
She was trying her best to convince me to try out for our university’s soccer team. Like always, I was petrified to try something new, so I protested with a great deal of useless excuses. I finally relented and the two of us showed up for the first practice. I had no doubt my sister would excel on the team, but I always doubted my own abilities. Everyone was bigger, faster, and more confident than I was. By some miracle, they let me on the team. And today, I am so glad I gave it a shot, even if I was the worst player, because that experience led me to meet my soulmate.
The men’s soccer team always practiced with us. There was one boy who made me forget my own name. He was the cutest, the most talented, the strongest, and also the quietest. I remember telling myself,“he would never look twice at me.” His name was Victor, and as it happens, he did look twice at me. For an entire year both he and I were too shy to talk to each other. When the next season rolled around, we finally had the courage to strike up a friendship. It wasn’t too long before he stole my heart.
Falling in love with Victor took the meaning of love to a whole new level for me. Not only were we alike in so many ways, but we were also polar opposites in other ways. I had grown up in South Carolina in an average family, never finding myself in need of anything. Victor grew up in El Salvador, a tiny country on the edge of Central America—a country that was in civil war. While I was refusing to eat vegetables on my plate, he was scrounging for them to ease his hunger pains.
We grew up two worlds away, but as providence would have it, our worlds collided. This boy who had worked for everything he ever had, met this girl who was given everything she ever had. Our love for each other was simple. We didn’t see the difference in our skin color. We didn’t even care how differently we played the game of soccer (he was always upright on the field, usually carrying the ball, and I was usually horizontal on the field, being trampled under some Amazon woman’s cleats). What united us went far beyond all differences—we shared the same faith, and our faith taught us to live life in the same way, serving others better than ourselves, and loving unconditionally.
Our love doesn’t require me to have perfect self-confidence. Because my husband is a constant source of encouragement, my confidence issues don’t scare me like they did in the past. If I feel overwhelmed or insufficient, I know my soulmate will support me. He invests in my ideas, my dreams, and my wishes. Victor always believes in me, even if I don’t believe in myself. We can trust our support for each other is mutual. And that is a confidence in our commitment that we want to pass to our children.
We are from very different worlds and there is always the danger our differences could tear us apart. And if we leave love out of the equation, division is the certain result. But we choose love. I believe in love because only true love can transcend differences. Today, we are building a unique world of our own. It’s a little American, a little Salvadoran, a little coastal, and a little mountain. But the common denominator is love, and through love, we hope to give our children the best of both worlds.