Meant to Be: Miraculous True Stories to Inspire a Lifetime of Love [NOOK Book]


Does love at first sight only happen in the movies? Not according to relationship experts Barry and Joyce Vissell, who have long believed in the miraculous nature of love.

In Meant to Be, a collection of true and truly extraordinary tales, the editors demonstrate that the hands of destiny are at work behind the scenes of romantic love, yielding stories of unexpected and heartwarming connections.

"We believe there is a strong, largely unseen energy of love guiding us every step ...

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Meant to Be: Miraculous True Stories to Inspire a Lifetime of Love

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Does love at first sight only happen in the movies? Not according to relationship experts Barry and Joyce Vissell, who have long believed in the miraculous nature of love.

In Meant to Be, a collection of true and truly extraordinary tales, the editors demonstrate that the hands of destiny are at work behind the scenes of romantic love, yielding stories of unexpected and heartwarming connections.

"We believe there is a strong, largely unseen energy of love guiding us every step of our lives," writes the Vissells. "This guidance brings us to the right relationship at the right time. The sometimes amazing stories in this book show the magnitude and intelligence of this guiding power."

Dramatic, surprising, and unforgettable, these tales of miraculous meetings, reunions, and endings will fill readers with awe, hope, and joy. Meant to Be is a classic in the making, celebrating the mysterious and eternal power of love.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609254919
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 778 KB

Meet the Author

Joyce and Barry Vissell, a nurse and a psychiatrist, and a couple for more than thirty-five years, are the authors of five books: Meant to Be, The Heart's Wisdom, The Shared Heart, Models of Love, and Risk to Be Healed. Popular speakers, they have offered programs at Omega Institute, New York Open Center, Interface, Whole Life Expos, and hundreds of churches. They are also the recipients of the Aquarian Award, a national honor given to those who have made a significant contribution toward world healing. They currently live at their center and home near Santa Cruz, California.
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Read an Excerpt

Meant to Be

Miraculous True Stories to Inspire a Lifetime of Love


Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2000 Joyce & Barry Vissell
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-491-9


Miraculous Meetings

How two people are brought together has always remained a spiritual mystery. The following stories will not solve the mystery, but they will give you a feeling for the unseen forces at play behind all relationships. We believe there is a strong, mostly unseen, energy of love guiding us every step of our lives. This divine guidance brings us to the right relationship at the right time. The sometimes amazing stories in this first section show the magnitude and intelligence of this guiding power.

There is a destiny to two people joining into a committed relationship. What is ordinarily called "chemistry" between two people is really destiny at work. Two souls are drawn together to learn from each other. What seems like a crazy coincidence to some is to us the loving hand of guidance. Many times, people are guided to several or even a series of partners. Each of these relationships is important and has been brought to each person lovingly for their highest growth. Some relationships have difficult lessons to teach, and when learned, there is the need to move on to learn new lessons from someone else. Sometimes the most difficult lesson is the peaceful acceptance of the need for transition, that a romantic relationship with a particular person is not in the best interest for either person.

Some relationships contain all the lessons within the context of the one relationship. Our own relationship of thirty-six years has felt to us to be a series of mini-relationships. We went as far as we could go in one direction, experienced a mini-death or ending, and then the change of direction felt like a renewed commitment. We like the image of the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes, something beautiful being born after something of no more use has died, a beginning that can only arise from a proper ending.

True Love

WHEN I WAS two years old, my mother put me in a day care center. She tells the story of how I was terrified to stay at this place until a two-year-old boy named Bobby joined the group. As long as Bobby was there, I was not afraid. Both of our mothers had to work full time, so Bobby and I were there every day together. The staff reported to my mother that we were never far from each other's side. When nap time came we would refuse to nap unless our blankets were side by side.

After three years in day care, it was time for public school kindergarten. The day care staff tried to prepare us for the fact that we wouldn't be together again. That didn't make sense to my five-year-old mind. I wanted to always be with Bobby.

Our mothers, acting independently of each other, enrolled us in the district's elementary school. Imagine our surprise when I reluctantly went for my first day of kindergarten and there was Bobby! We were in the same class! Again, we played together every day.

Bobby was the bright spot in my life, since my home life was anything but happy and secure. My father would go out drinking and come home and hit my mother. My only joy and security was my time with Bobby at school.

In first grade, the children started to tease us for playing together so much. We didn't care. Our favorite activity was swinging and telling each other jokes. We would laugh for a long time over our jokes.

Meanwhile, life at home was growing more and more unhappy. Lying in bed at night, I would hear my father yelling at my mother and my mother crying. I felt so sad I didn't know what to do. To comfort myself, I thought of Bobby during those times and tried to remember the jokes he'd told me that day.

In second and third grade the teasing grew intense. The boys called Bobby a sissy for playing with me. Sometimes he'd leave me and go off to play with the boys. Those were very sad days. Usually, though, he'd continue to play with me.

One night, when I was eight years old, my father came home more drunk than ever and began hitting my mother very hard. I tried to stop him and he struck at me. I ran to my room crying. I wished I could sneak out of my house and be with Bobby. In the middle of the night my mother woke me saying, "Get up, pack some of your favorite things. We are leaving here for good. Now hurry!"

My mother's voice was urgent and I obeyed her. We got in the car and drove west for seven days. All the time we were driving I cried. I wanted to be with Bobby, the one person that I felt secure and happy with.

I gradually adjusted to a new life in California. I never saw my father again. I learned to make new friends, yet every night for years I thought about Bobby and missed him. My mother would not let me write to him. She said my father could then find us and maybe kill her. That sounded pretty scary to me. Over the years, she refused to tell me about my past, even what city we had lived in. In time, I forgot all about Bobby.

I became a rebellious teenager and left home when I was sixteen. At seventeen, I married a man ten years older than me. I thought I loved this man until, shortly after we were married, I discovered he was an alcoholic. I wanted to leave, but didn't know how. Just as with my mother, my husband began beating me up after his drinking binges. My mother and I weren't talking. I had no idea where my father was and I didn't have any close friends. I felt resigned to my fate.

One night, with two black eyes and a bruised body, I got in my car and drove away. I ended up driving for several days until I came to a coastal town in Washington State. During the drive, I decided one thing—I would never trust a man again! I concluded that since my own father was abusive and violent and my husband turned out to be the same, then all men must be bad.

Eventually I got a job as a waitress and began to carve out a simple yet lonely life for myself. My mother and I began talking every week on the phone. It felt good to be in communication with her again.

One day, a customer brought in an ad for a workshop on relationships. "Well that's sure not for me!", I remarked with much sarcasm. "I never want to be with a man again. I've had it, I'm done."

That seemed like a strong statement for a twenty-five-year-old woman to be making, so she teased me a little, then seriously urged me to go. "You are too young to give up on relationships," she said with a smile. She then ripped out the ad and placed it in my pocket.

Returning to my lonely room in the boarding house, I looked at the ad. Something about the possibility of a loving relationship intrigued me. Then all my fears came up and I ripped up the ad and threw the pieces in the garbage.

When I went to bed that night, I felt lonelier than I had felt in years. Usually I was very good at holding in all my feelings, but that night I couldn't keep them down. I felt the pain of having an abusive father, then having the same experience repeated in my marriage. I felt lonely, but so fearful of ever trusting again. I hadn't given much attention to spiritual matters, yet on that lonely night I prayed to be able to trust again. After a while I slept peacefully.

When I awoke, I knew with certainty that I must go to the seminar on relationships. Something seemed to have happened to me during the night. Then I remembered my prayer. "Maybe this is the help I'm needing," I thought as I rummaged through the garbage to retrieve the ripped-up ad. Finding one piece with the phone number intact, I called and registered. I felt lighter and happier than I had felt since I was a young child.

The day of the seminar came and I felt a strange combination of fright and enthusiastic anticipation. I quietly entered the room and saw that it was filled with people. The frightened part of me grew and I almost ran out of the room, but the enthusiastic part of me found my way to a quiet corner where I awaited directions.

Right off the bat, a young man came over to sit next to me. He said he felt a little overwhelmed by all the people and needed to find a friend. He told me a joke and made me laugh. Something about his manner made me relax. I found myself opening to him. He told me he was part American Indian and his name was Sun Bear. Sun Bear and I spent the entire seminar together. At the end he asked for my phone number and I gladly gave it to him. We began dating. When Thanksgiving came, I asked if he would come to my mother's house with me for the weekend. He agreed.

My mother greeted us both with warm hugs. She began to ask Sun Bear about his past. I was getting annoyed with my mother for probing into Sun Bear's life so deeply. Finally she stopped and a very strange expression crossed her face. Abruptly she excused herself and was gone a long time. I apologized to Sun Bear for my mother's unusual behavior.

Finally, she came back, holding a photo album. "Sun Bear," she asked with choking emotion, "Did you have a different name in childhood?"

He looked uncomfortable with this question and I was seriously annoyed, then he responded, "Yes, my mother and friends called me Bobby."

My heart began to pound wildly. With that my mother pulled out a picture of two little children on a swing. "I believe this is you, Sun Bear, with my daughter Jennifer."

Love had guided us back together after seventeen lonely years. We have now been married for thirty years and feel so grateful to be together again. And oh—I still love to listen to his jokes.

Jennifer Walker

The Mystery Man from Hartwic

FOR AS LONG as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a doctor. Perhaps my desire was inspired by the tall kindly pediatrician, Dr. Schmidt, who came to our home when I was very sick with the measles. Perhaps it was simply an innate knowledge.

Like many people, I found the deepest peace in solitude. I considered myself lucky to move from Brooklyn at the age of six and spend the rest of my childhood growing up at the edge of a neighborhood in Elmsford, New York, in a house bordering a vast area of farmland and woods. I loved playing with the kids in the neighborhood, but most of all I loved wandering the open spaces for hours by myself, making up stories about being a pioneer doctor.

At the age of eighteen, in my senior year at Sleepy Hollow High School in Tarrytown in 1964, I finally started noticing girls, especially one particular girl. I went out with Becky for three months. Although it was puppy love, it was still my heart's first awakening, my first time kissing a girl and holding hands in public proclaiming to the world that I was now in a relationship.

At the same time, I was waiting to hear back from the colleges to which I had applied. Although I was a fairly good student, especially when a subject interested me (or a teacher made the subject interesting), the process of applying to colleges felt unimportant to me. In fact, and this is embarrassing for me to admit, I had so little motivation that my mother ended up doing most of the work for me, researching schools and filling out applications.

Then, almost as suddenly as my brief relationship began, Becky announced she didn't want to see me anymore. I didn't get it. A week later I saw her in school walking down the hall hand-in-hand with another boy. That sight really drove home the fact that the relationship was over. Up to that point I held out the hope that she didn't really mean what she had said.

I was heartsick. I remember lying in bed with an awful empty feeling inside and wished good old Dr. Schmidt had a remedy for my heartache. It was even worse than the time I was cut from the baseball team, even though the other players said I was just as good as they were. I felt discriminated against, being the only Jew trying out for a team of mostly Catholic Italians, who were clearly favored by the Italian coach. The pain and rejection was enormous. Baseball was my passion. When I wasn't wandering the woods and fields by myself, I was organizing a baseball game with as many kids as I could round up from the neighborhood. But the pain of being rejected by Becky was even worse.

To make matters worse, one after another rejection letters started to come in from prospective colleges. It didn't seem to make any difference to me—I already felt hopelessly rejected. Then came the rejection letter from the last college, my safety choice, the one I felt surely would accept me.

It was the final blow. My dreams of becoming a doctor seemed far away now. Yes, I hadn't made the baseball team, but I survived that. I could still play baseball. Yes, I lost my girlfriend but I could survive that too. Somewhere deep within me I knew there was someone somewhere waiting for me. I had gotten a taste of love, a feeling of connection with another. It had awakened in me a deeper yearning to travel to even higher places of joy and love, to experience that wonderful feeling of being at home with another.

But now all these college rejections. It was just too much for me to take. It wasn't even that I wanted to go to these particular colleges. It was more the picture I had in my mind that I would be a pre-medical major in college that next fall. It was so confusing to have such a clear picture inwardly that didn't match what was happening on the outside.

I became depressed. While my friends were whooping and congratulating each other on their acceptances, I was forlornly wandering the school halls, head hung low, still trying to avoid seeing Becky and her new boyfriend.

It was precisely at one of these moments, while trudging in a fog of self-pity from one class to another, that a voice over the loudspeaker crackled me to attention.

"Barry Vissell," said the school secretary's voice, "Please report to the principal's office.

My immediate reaction was one of fear. I had a mischievous side to me that sometimes got me into trouble. What had I recently done that might have caused a call to the principal's office? My mind went wild surveying the list of possibilities, the pranks that might have been discovered.

Entering the secretary's office, I felt immensely relieved to see her smile. Whew, I thought to myself, I'm not in trouble. She ushered me to an inner office, where I was welcomed by a neatly dressed, smiling man who appeared to be in his thirties. He shook my hand and said he was from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He took probably one minute to tell me about the school, and then pointed to some papers on the table next to him.

"This is an application for admission to Hartwick College. With the help of your school officials, we've filled it out with information from your school records."

I was beginning to feel dizzy. Had I been watching too many episodes of The Twilight Zone? I had never heard of Hartwick College. Was this some kind of joke to get even with me for all the pranks I had played on others? First my mother did most of the work applying to colleges that ended up rejecting me. Now this strange guy was filling out another application to a college I've never heard of.

But I didn't have much time to ponder these things. Quickly the man pulled a shiny pen out of his sportcoat pocket and extended it to me. "If you'd like to join us next fall at Hartwick, sign here," he said placing a finger of his other hand next to a line at the bottom of the application.

Suddenly I didn't know what to do. "Can I have some time to think about this?" I stammered. "It seems like such an important decision."

"Sure, sure," he confidently answered, "Take a few minutes."

I had hoped he would have offered me a few days.

I paused probably fifteen seconds, solemnly took the pen from him and proceeded to sign away four years of my life. He retrieved his pen and thanked me with an almost uncomfortably warm yet genuine smile. His final words as he walked me out of the office still ring in my ears: "I promise you. You'll never regret this decision."

"How does he know?" was my thought.

But somehow I felt at peace. Driving home on my old Vespa motorscooter, I felt a joy and lightness bubbling up from within me, feelings I had almost forgotten about. It felt like my old Vespa had wings. Upon arriving home, I remember the incredulous look in my mother's face as I triumphantly announced, "Mom, I'm going to Hartwick College next fall."

It's funny about youth. I gave no real thought to who that man was, or how he found out about me. I just accepted it as a matter of course and showed up that next fall at Hartwick College in the rolling Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

I saw Joyce for the first time at a soccer game later that fall. I was sitting on the bleachers with some dorm buddies. We were acting "cool," in other words, more grown-up and sophisticated than we really were. I was in college now, and I wanted to show everyone that I was an adult.

Excerpted from Meant to Be by JOYCE VISSELL, BARRY VISSELL. Copyright © 2000 Joyce & Barry Vissell. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


True Love Miracles in Everyone          


True Love          

The Mystery Man from Hartwick          

The Voice of Guidance          

What's in a Name?          

Heart of Love          

Finding My Life Partner          

The Concert that Changed My Life          


My Vow          

A Date to Remember          

Revelation in the Shower          

Beautiful Eyes          

The Relationship That Started on the Rocks          

The Mating Call          

Saved from the Trash          

A Surprising Pilgrimage          

If From California, Say Hello          

It's Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood          

We Never Lost Our Love          


Remembering What is Most Important          

The Resolution          

Another Woman          

The Chat Room Miracle          

Healing from Tragedy          

Finding Our Own Way          

Asking For Forgiveness          

The Car Crash          

Visitors on the Mountain          

Lost in Paradise          

Every Day is a Gift          

Finding My Voice          

The Long Journey Home          

Rediscovered Love          

Fulfilling Our Dream          

Angel on the Street          



Ruby's Message          

The Good-bye Hug          

The Best Christmas Present          

Dancing with Angels          


The Magic Penny          

Loving Arms          

Mr. Lincoln's Rose          


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2001

    True Stories Reveal the Awesome Spirit of Love

    I love to hear true stories of how best friends and lovers met, because I've long suspected that in listening to these stories I can witness love's hidden hand at work. Relationship counselors Joyce and Barry Vissell had a similar vision when they collected dozens of true love stories for their heart-warming book, MEANT TO BE. The Vissells begin this book with the assertion that 'there is a miraculous love story within each person', and describe that their greatest hope for readers of this book is 'to inspire you to live more fully every moment, to love and appreciate now the ones with whom you are in relationship, rather than putting it off into the uncertain future.' MEANT TO BE succeeds brilliantly at both showing us the way love orchestrates our lives, and also pointing out the value of being fully present in our relationships right now. I found myself feeling uplifted and amazed by the synchronicities and astonishing ways that peoples' lives in these stories arranged themselves so that they would take note of someone special -- even when they were not trying or even feeling like meeting anyone new. The common thread in all these stories was the desire of those involved to deeply love another, and yet each story is completely unique. I was deeply touched that the authors themselves participated in sharing the ups and downs of their love stories... each from their own point of view. This would be a wonderful book if it only contained stories of how people met, but it goes far beyond that to share stories of how lovers can help each other grow and heal, and how love never ends... even when our lovers die. If you are ready to read a book that will break your heart open with a feeling of love so great it cannot be contained, MEANT TO BE is meant for you. ----------------------------------

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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