I don’t have a hard time admitting my failures or mistakes. Thanks to a period of time where I failed spectacularly, and often, it kind of lost its sting. Quite a freeing experience, truth be told. But there is still something that is awfully hard for me to admit. It is brutally, painfully, horribly awful for me to admit the things I want and yet cannot bring about.
So here it is, the most uncomfortable confession I’ve ever made: I heartbreakingly, deeply, fully want to find a great, loving partner, get married, and have kids. Coming from a nearly 35 year old woman who has hardly ever dated, I might as well say I’d like to take up the 100 meter dash and win gold in the next Olympics. It just ain’t likely to be in the cards, lady. Not impossible, but the odds are pretty nuts.
The reason I hate admitting that is because I’m powerless to create it. Sure, I can sign up for all the internet and speed dating in the world, and I could probably find a dozen guys who’d date me while never coming close to a healthy, symbiotic relationship, but I’m far too self-sufficient and smart to settle for the kind of dating that exists solely to keep some of the lonleys away. Geez, I’d far rather be on my own than put up with that shit.
But my life has been a long line of accomplishing pretty much anything I set my mind to. Where I live, where I work, who I know – if I want it, I go get it. Thing is, it doesn’t work that way when another’s soul and free will is involved. No amount of hard work or strategy will earn you that. You can be on every dating site, go on every set up, make yourself in to the smartest, most accomplished, most charming, best version of yourself possible and there’s STILL no guarantee that someone will come along, be the partner you need, want you, and sign up for the ride. It’s just not a given in this world, damn your best efforts.
Am I bitter? I am not. Do I feel abandoned or forgotten? I do not. Why? Because Ephesians. “And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints,to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge…”
I do not think that being uncoupled and without children is a punishment for something wrong I’ve done or some way I’ve failed God, though I’ve done plenty of both. And I don’t think He’s gotten overwhelmed and said “Oh SHIT I forgot about her! Dangit.” Neither of those factor in to the God I’ve come to know in my thirtysomeodd years.
What I’m led to believe it comes down to is currency – WE are currency. We are finite resources. We do not have endless time or energy or purpose. We have to identify direction and apply ourselves. In our lives, we spend ourselves on careers, works of service, family, romance, parenting, experiencing the natural world, building friendships, and much more. The currency of ourselves is limited, and while I wish my budget of self included romance and parenting, it seems not to be part of my story. So, where do these vast amounts of currency go if I can’t spend them there?
To that, the answer comes quickly. In the same era of life that my longing for marriage and family has grown, so has my influence and access to an incredible collection of both peer and younger women (and a few fellas) who have seen something in me they like. They seek my advice, they follow my lead, they replicate my choices, and they are hungry for feedback and direction. So here – when my heart aches around my lovely friends with their sweet, sweet children – here I spend my mothering currency. I apparently am not destined to be a mom, but I can nuture these wonderful women.
And for the romance? Truly, I don’t know. I have shed an embarrasing amount of ugly cry tears on this subject. I am lonely, sad, heartbroken, and disappointed – but not dismayed. I crave to be void of jealousy, and I work hard to achieve that state. There is endless love in the world, and I cannot understand those who think others must have less so they can have more, or any. I can only surmise that I’m both more empathetic and vulnerable for this strange life without love, which helps me be a better friend to anyone and everyone I know. Can a friend who’s never yearned or felt lonliness really know how to comfort or encourage when another heart hurts? The answer sure seems like no.
So, I’ll take my currency and try to invest and spend it wisely on what I do have and where I can, rather than hoard it like a miser waiting hopelessly for treasures not meant for me. After all, no one ever got rich by stubbornly sitting on a pile of gold.