I don't remember the exact date, but I do know it was about this same time last year. I distinctly remember going to church and finally being so tired of everything to do with being single and not being the wife and mother that I have felt so called to be, and tired of the pain that would never go away. I had prayed and prayed for God to either send the right one for me to be married to or to take away the pain of being single so that I would be okay with it. I finally realized neither was going to happen, so I prayed a prayer that was not planned or beautiful or anything. It just was. And that prayer was something like, "Okay, God. Fine. Whatever." Fine, you want me to be single and in pain, so be it. Whatever.
The pain did not go away then. Not at all. But surrendering to the pain was okay. The weight was lifted. Perhaps it didn't have to be fixed and I wasn't doing something wrong by not being fully okay with my state in life and the lack of what I still believe to be my primary vocation. I didn't have to know how or when or if it would change. I didn't have to be okay. I just had to be, and to be in this moment.
However, over a couple of months the pain started to lift. It was kind of like a cloudy day that finally started breaking away. First there were patches without the constant ache, and soon those were only a few, until I rarely notice that anymore. It happens occasionally, and I still remember one particularly bad night a few months ago. But mostly? Not so much. (Though when those moments happen, I am sure to regale you with all the whining and moaning about it on ye olde blog here.)
The strangest thing is that- and clearly something is wrong with this- I kind of miss the pain. Okay, let me explain before you start calling to make reservations for me in a padded room somewhere. It's not that I wanted to hurt. It's that I wondered if not hurting meant that I cared less, or that I wanted to share my life less, or that I really was okay with being single. That and pain was familiar and I kind of knew what to do with it. Suddenly I didn't have to steel myself every time I opened fb, or talked with my friends about their kids. Okay, I don't always have to steel myself. Sometimes I do, and sometimes going to baptisms of friends' kids is tough, or whatever other event you care to mention. But it's a whole helluva lot easier than it was.
I have come to this. I'm still not "okay" with being single on a certain level. Somewhere, deep down, it still doesn't feel quite right. I'm still not okay with the fact that another birthday is approaching and that each year single is a further decrease in the potential for children, and particularly for the big family I'd always hoped for. But letting go of all of it, including the pain, does not mean that having a husband and children matter less. All it means is that I am letting go of control, and am focusing on living my story as it is now rather than worrying about what will be or may be or may not be. It is freedom not to compare my story with anyone else's. It is freedom to live my story and all that it is, with all of the things in it that I still can't believe. It's the freedom to write sappy blog posts for the whole internet to read, though you all also have the freedom to skip it.
I know for a fact that there will still be painful moments, and it wouldn't surprise me if the pain comes back to stay for a while. It might or it might not.