“Are you afraid that you’ll never date, or get married? Does it ever, well, worry you?”
We’re in the car, and I’ve been watching church after church roll past my window like an ecclesial slideshow, wondering if Texas is the Bible Belt buckle, even though it doesn’t really work geographically. With all of this clearly significant wondering, she’s caught me off guard, and I’m more than a little annoyed anyway, mostly because I think her answer to this question is in the asking.
“What? NO. I mean, I…uh, no.” I stammer, half-angry, half-mystified, thinking, I’ve shown her one too many summer wedding albums on Facebook.
But it’s not the first time she’s asked. It’s usually in the car, or at the grocery, or while waiting at the dentist’s office—somewhere I can’t run. She’s good.
I give about the same unsatisfying answer every time, which is why she keeps asking it, I suppose.
But the truth? I don’t really worry about it.
[At least, that’s the answer I’m giving today. ]
And maybe it’s because at [almost!] twenty-two, I still feel quite young. I’m moving into my very first apartment this week, I’m still discovering the person I’m supposed to be, I’ve only just bought a real person adult wallet. Worrying about marriage honestly seems like a lot.
I have days. Perhaps it’s an occasional pinch rather than a constant ache. On these days, I do have all the usual insecurities, I do fail to see myself as His creation, and I do wonder if someone will understand [not to mention stick around for] this strange combination of parts and story, the awkward quirks and habits, the messy bits I’m not so much a fan of myself.
And of course, there is the sting of the “no, never” that my new friend [and captivating writer] Hilary wrote about once.
So, I suppose, I will admit the ache, at long last, sure. [And perhaps sometime I will even write about it in a post far less self-contradicting than this one.]
I hope it is not denial, but much of the time, I would still say I am not so concerned. And it is not necessarily because of any of those things I just listed vanish at the simple swipe of lipstick or the click of a high heel, but because of the love of the One who makes everything beautiful in its time and guides the pulsing of the distant stars, the hum of the cicadas in the park, and my ever-wayward heart.
I hope not to mean this cheaply, to make Jesus to be my boyfriend and not my savior, and not even in a His-love-trumps-everyone-else’s way. Because though that last bit is true—ours is only a dim reflection of His—I have found these responses to be unsatisfying at certain times, because the fact of the matter is, there is something sacred about a human romance, and it’s OK for it to be a dream of mine. Of yours, too.
But rather, simply, it is because He whispers, in an acceptable time, and I ask for the strength to trust.
And He reminds me of the grace that brought me to this day, and the winding road of journey, the outcomes I never considered, the friendships I never thought I’d make.
Grace, grace, it is all grace.
And so, I throw up my hands and say that it is by the grace of God that I will love and be loved, that someone will walk with me, that I will prayerfully be a wife and mother.
But then, anyway, it is by grace that we love at all.
And so for now, I am learning, here and everywhere, to love where I can, to listen, to watch, to pray.