As years have passed, most of my friends from high school, college, and beyond have gotten married and started families. Although I still have many single friends, sometimes it seems as though everyone around me is purchasing their first home or having a baby and it can be really hard to shake myself of bitterness and anxiety and look at all of the many blessings in my own life.
If I am completely honest, one of the biggest struggles that I’ve experienced throughout these past few years is the inability of friends to empathize with me once they’ve gotten engaged or married. However, I am grateful for the one person who has been placed in my life who has keenly remembered the many years that she spent waiting for her spouse. Her wisdom and guidance has been a rock for me as I’ve questioned my own relationship status.
A few years ago, I stood in Mary’s newly purchased condo screwing on new knobs for every single cabinet in her kitchen. It was tedious, but good to be with her. A few years older than me, I looked up to her for her courage, talent, virtue, and beauty. At that time, she was single, but I couldn’t help but wonder why. She was absolutely beautiful, smart, and extremely kind. Why hadn’t multiple men try to sweep her off her feet? At one point in her conversation that afternoon she said, “I am not really sure that I am ever going to get married. Perhaps this is just a burden that I will have to carry.”
I shook with fear and anxiety. I was afraid that three or five years from then, I would be saying that same thing. Although she was peaceful about this perspective, it didn’t take away from the fact that she did want to be married someday. She was very human when discussing this suffering. Her words never left me. Over the next year, I tried to grapple with her statement. Could it be possible that she wouldn’t marry? If this was a desire on her heart, why had it not been fulfilled? And if this was something she would be asked to bear, maybe I would also need to do so.
Many of my questions still have not been answered. However, the trust that she had and still possesses has been a rock for me whenever I have become anxious about the future. As it turns out, just a year after she purchased her condo and began her “dream job”, she began dating the man who would become her husband; I had never seen her happier.
And although she was excited and anxious to finally get married, she has not forgotten what it was like to be single…wondering if her desire for marriage and family would ever become a reality. Throughout the past few years, her friendship and stability in my life has been a beautiful gift that I’m overwhelming grateful for. Perhaps there will be a day when I will be asked to be a similar support to a friend of mine and I hope that I can step up to the challenge.