…. and it worked not by fulfilling it’s goal of introducing me to someone who I could be a ‘success story’ with, but because it helped me to understand that it was most definately not for me!!!
One of the areas of my life that I have found consistantly difficult to entrust to the Lord, is that of my unmarried state.
A few years ago I believed that the Lord was calling me to be open to the possibility of a relationship – dun-dun-dun….with a man! Up to that point I had been plodding along quite contentedly, licking the wounds that had been left as welts upon me from my annulled marriage, years before. However, being cursed with impatience, once having discerned this, I thought I’d take up the recomendation of a friend to join an online dating agency.
So I joined a couple of Catholic singles sites. I even had a cyber friendship with one man who seemed quite nice. After three months of almost daily contact (online) it came to crunch time. What were we doing? How insane was it to anticipate one anothers emails a couple of times a day and yet not know one another at all really? I didn’t do that old ‘You’ve got Mail’ – shall we meet? thing. But I did ask a couple of questions that would help us to decide where we both wanted to go with ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ was, which wasn’t much of anything in the scheme of things, but you know…a gal’s gotta know if she’s wasting her time.
And then he dropped the bombshell.
He told me that it was about time he came clean about himself if we were going to continue getting to know one another better. He told me that he liked me a lot and enjoyed our friendship and that he couldn’t keep this thing from me anymore.He was honest enough to inform me that he’d been growing illegal substances in his kitchen for over 20 years and that not only was he a regular dope smoker, but that he had sold drugs to other people. He also informed me that he was addicted to pain meds and was in danger of losing his teaching job, his home, everything.
Now from his profile image, his profile and his articulate writing style, you would never have thought this was the same guy as the one who was telling me all this…I actually was drawn to respond to him initially because of the beautiful way that he wrote about his faith, the Mass, the Sacraments etc…..but what bites most is that he contacted me ….. and my profile clearly stated that I wasn’t looking for a casual relationship; that I had children and hence, had their wellbeing to consider and that only a man who would embrace being a part of a ready made family, who was mature and responsible and devoutly Catholic, need ‘apply’. (I didn’t write it quite like that, but you get my drift don’t you? ie, no time wasters please!)
Well, I guess I learned a few things about both him and me. There were other men after that who showed some interest, some of them were even married men presenting themselves as single, believe it or not. It was horrendous! I reported the jokers and then I quit membership of both sites and never went back. I was not impressed. I recall saying to God,
‘why did you let me think there was someone out there just for me’,
and maybe it was me answering myself or God answering me, but I remember thinking
“but God never told you to go looking, he only asked you to open your heart, so quit it with the impatience already!”
Now, I don’t doubt that such sites can fascilitate communication and that such communication can lead to relationships. But it just wasn’t for me. There were so many nights I stayed up till the early hours chatting on msn to guys, and you know what, it achieved precisely nothing aside from a ruddy big migraine…because you can’t make something happen when there’s nothing there to start with. Hopes and dreams do not a marriage make. Impatience can not a relationship make, unless you are willing to make a bad match and hence a bad marriage in which case it is not a pledge from the heart of Thy will be done, but a case of My will be done. Been there, done that, could write a book about it. Don’t wanna do that anymore.
I’ll admit that this all sounds rather ridiculous now, looking back on it with the benefit of hindsight, but at the time, never having done the online dating thing before, I found it all strangely appealing. I mean, I didn’t even have to get dressed up and go on a date! I could sit here in my pyjamas at the computer, munching my way through a multi pack of Walkers Crisps and he’d never even know I hadn’t combed my hair that day! Sounds like the ideal relationship, huh!?
Well, where’s this all going?
Oh yeah. So I was reading Warren’s post the other day and it made for interesting reading…. he wrote about single men of his/our age group needing to be more open to meeting ladies who are in their late thirties and in their forties and not always looking for a younger woman. I liked his line of thinking because I’d encountered on the two Catholic singles sites I’d joined, a lot of men who wanted to meet ‘attractive/young/fertile women without children and definately no previous marrieds pulllease!’…on the forums at both catholic singles sites I was on, the men were VERY outspoken about their list of requirements in a woman and yet they were usually the men who had kid’s themselves and were the least attractive in both physical appearance and attitiude.
What I pointed out to Warren in his combox is that men might also consider that the women they meet of a similar age to their own, especially our age group, will invariably already have children from previous relationships and may not be able to have more children. This is a big turn off for a lot of guys though. I know this is true because a lotta guys have told me so. Their loss.
And then a couple of days back I was reading Ginny’s beautiful post about waiting for her future spouse, and today I was reading Dawn Eden’s post in which she gave some interesting advice about putting this area of our life into the care of the Lord and not staying up chatting on msn to potential hubbie wanabees until the wee small hours because let’s face it, in all likelihood, it just ain’t happening…..anyway, it bought back all these memories and hence this post! Isn’t it just your lucky day?
You may also remember my recent post on Henri Nouwen and how I was loving what I was reading by him. Well last week I started reading ‘Reaching Out’ and just a few pages in I read;
“It is sad to see how sometimes people suffering from loneliness….. search for a final solution for their pains and search for a new friend, a new lover, a new community, with Messianic expectations. Although their mind knows their self-deceit, their hearts keep saying, ‘Maybe this time I have found what I have knowingly or unknowingly been searching for’.”
And then there was something else that happened on retreat this past weekend that kind of ties this whole thing together. I prayed for my future spouse at Mass (I often do though I don’t know if I’ll be blessed with one) and later in the afternoon, what did Bishop McGough start his talk to us by reading?
“Fear not, you shall not be put to shame; you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced. The shame of your youth you shall forget, the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.
For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the LORD of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.”
Now of course, I know that any Bible commentary will tell you that this is about Israel,but what it won’t tell you is that it’s also about me. True fulfilment can be found only in the Lord, not in a man. And only when I’m satisfied in the Lord alone am I truly ready to become a wife.
I have been reasonably (which means that sometimes I am not always this clear thinking about this area of my life and am still very impatient about the ‘waiting on God’s time’) contentedly single since ditching the online dating ‘rink’ a couple of years ago, but even so it’s always good to have something reaffirmed, because there are times when my mind wanders and I wonder just what God’s plan is for my life and where this journey will take me next.
All in God’s time, all in God’s time.