pearls of great price (part 2)
I've wanted to be a wife and mother since I was old enough to understand what those words meant, likely because I was raised by one and taught to hold these vocations in high regard. Maybe too high. It's taken me a while to come around to the Lutheran view of vocations, but it's also removed my ability to blame God or man for the fact that I'm rounding the corner on 28 and still single. I joke about being a spinster because joking about it helps me confront the reality. It doesn't sting quite like it used to. The longing for children, however, isn't a sting, it's an ache, and I'm still learning to live with that.
I have deliberately surrounded myself with married couples and their children. I'm blessed to not feel covetous of any of their marriages - blessed to clearly see that what they have is theirs, and it's good. It's harder to see that what I have is also good. Right now, I want kids more than I want to be married, which you can chalk up to the hormones and the biology. I want to take them home with me. My closest friends are all young mothers, generally exhausted and at wits' end. I'd give anything to be exhausted and at wit's end because of kids, rather than feel that way from the burden of working full-time outside the house, and running a house on my own. But, because we so soon forget how much pain hurt at the time, I understand that if God allows me to get married and have kids, I will be wishing these days back. I will look back on this - which currently overwhelms me to the point of desperation - and think I had it easy.
That's human nature, and, like I said before about vocation - my longing for these two vocations, thus far withheld from me, isn't an excuse to abdicate or half-ass the vocations I'm actually in. And we do forget, once we're out a trial, quite how difficult it felt at the time. I've gotten a lot of help from a Roman Catholic blogger, who has had more practical advice on singleness than I have found anywhere else. In one of her recent articles, she talked about how married people forget the pain of singleness and theorized that the younger you get married, the sooner you forget. Most of the girls commenting on that article were 21, and in great distress that their soulmates hadn't materialized. I've had a lot of friends get married quite young. At 28, hearing someone who's been married for a few months or years complain about how hard it was to be single (between ages 18 and 20) can be a little humorous. People are insensitive. It can't be helped. The guy I would have chosen at age 20 would have been a horrific match. The guy I would have chosen last year would have been a horrific match. If someone has found a good match, at any age, we should rejoice with them, and if someone desires a good match and hasn't found one, you should pray for them.
In the last calendar year alone, a handful of friends and acquaintances have married for the first time, women in their late 30s. They were all busy working, living, serving in a church when love happened. I think about that, and to be quite honest, my first thought is "PLEASE TELL ME I DON'T HAVE TEN MORE YEARS OF THIS", and then I consider: is that the worst thing that could happen to me? No. It just means giving birth to biological kids is less likely. And then I generally start crying. Those are the bad days. On the good days, I work, I live, I serve my church. On the bad days, I work, I live, I serve my church, and I also cry a lot. God is not obligated to provide me with a spouse and children. Knowing that doesn't make their absence any lighter, it just reminds me I don't have grounds to blame God for it. People mean well, and they make casual comments about how if I just wait faithfully and don't think about it, God will be sure to do some awesome Jeremiah 29:11 all up in my life!
Oh, I'm sure he will... it's just not going to look like giving me what I want when I want it. And, in the long run, I've got to be okay with that. There's no chance I'm going to trick God into giving me what I want by successfully "not thinking about it" (because as we all know, THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENS), because that's not how that works. It's not possible for me to really stop thinking about this. It's not possible for me to get away from a sin-cursed earth, my sin-cursed body, or my doubting, sin-cursed mind. My hope isn't ultimately in a husband or children - it's in the resurrection.
#lutherancurmudgeonOUT (READ PART 1)