About two months ago, I heard a conversation that shook me to the core. All it took was one line.
“Who’d want to marry you?” a male voice had said.
It was spoken in jest, and it was not even directed at me. But it had left me speechless and very much distraught. It struck a chord that resonated through my whole being.
Really, who WOULD want to marry me?
I’m too old, too confident, too strong. I’m too independent, too self-sufficient, too goal-oriented. Too tall, too skinny, too direct. And the list goes on. I wouldn’t have been so bothered, except for the first reason. I’m too old. There is no way to correct or reverse that.
It’s a sad truth – single women generally lose their perceived ‘market value’ with age. It’s just the way society works. The stigma is usually tied to child-bearing capacity (or its diminishing potential). It’s not whether you are able to contribute positively to the gene pool. It’s whether you can even contribute at all, period.
Now that I’m riding the slow train towards my late 30’s, age suddenly seemed to be working against me. Though many people still get surprised (sometimes shocked) to hear that I am pushing 40, the fact that I look young doesn’t comfort me. Quite frankly, a young face doesn’t do anything for my ovaries. It might get some people into considering me as a suitable mate, but once the reproductive factor comes in, all bets are off.
For that one night, I hated who I am – single, past my mid-30’s, with absolutely no prospect of getting married before I turn 40. I felt wretched.
I knew my grief was not worth airtime. It was pretty mundane, in the big scheme of things. Plus, it was not uncommon. Hundreds or thousands of women have probably experienced some semblance of my inner drama at some point in their lives. And hundreds upon thousands of women will experience it in time to come. That’s just the way life goes.
Instead of moping around, I decided to sit down and figure out why I was feeling despondent over one innocent remark. The realisation shouldn’t come as a surprise. My unhappiness had nothing to do with my circumstances. It had everything to do with what I thought about them.
I didn’t believe that my life was exactly as it should be. I believed that there was a better setup, a better life. That somehow, God had forgotten to execute some part of his plan. I had expected a husband, two kids, and a dog by this time. I had missed the proverbial train, and there wasn’t another one coming in three minutes (or three years).
I was sorely dissatisfied with how things are, and how it looked like it was going to be for a long time. What I had was not good enough, and there was no way to remedy the situation. I was going to keep ageing, and as such, keep having odds stacked up against me and my marriage plans.
I had stopped believing that God is perfect in his timing and in his provision. Or maybe I never have. There was still that unyielded part of my heart that demands God to make things happen for me, right now. It screams “You promised!” while waving my left hand that is missing two bands of white gold.
I had demanded of God something which was supposed to be a gift. And when that gift never arrived, I scorned the gift giver instead.
I was so wrong.
I was so wrong to insist that God work according to my timetable. So wrong to presume that God cannot or does not want to bless me in my circumstances. So wrong to forget that I am loved beyond words. So wrong to think that I was right.
Because I am, really, where I ought to be. And understanding this makes everything more than right. Even if I’m past my ‘best before’ date.