There's so much that I want to say, but every time I get started writing, I don't get too far. I had a vision of writing a little miniseries about some things about Advent, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that's not going to happen. Unless two posts can count as a "miniseries" (seems to me that there has to be at least 3 to count as a series, right? What's the official ruling on that?) Anyway, for better or worse, I think you're getting two. But two of the things that I have learned about most in the last year or so, so hopefully it's worth something.
Let me do a quick introduction to both of them (see, I say that like two other posts exist; in reality, I just deleted what I had started. But two posts are lingering in the theoretical realm of my brain!)
My story is that I grew up with a big family and we may have had some squabbles, but really no drama. My parents have been married 36 years, I have lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. Family is awesome and always has been for me, and I couldn't wait to bring my own family into the craziness. I remember going to a wedding when I was 16 and wishing that that was still an acceptable age to get married because I couldn't wait to be married and have kids. Not that I had a groom in mind, and not that I really would have wanted to be married before college, but it was a thought that crossed my mind.
Then I went to college, figuring that I would meet someone there. That's where my parents met, and that's how it works a lot in the middle of the country. Meet someone in college and get married when you graduate at 22 or 23. I always wanted a lot of kids and couldn't wait to get started. Only problem is... I didn't so much as have a boyfriend in college, let alone a relationship that was serious enough for marriage. Then there was grad school... Still did not meet anyone. It is now 10 years since I graduated college, and I'm still single as I can be. I am not and never will be "the cat lady", but a big part of that is that I have allergies and don't really want the responsibility of an animal.
Over the last decade plus, there are two truths that I have come to acknowledge in my life.
1) I am called to marriage. I am not called to singleness (perhaps some are called to this, but this is a default state in my life, not a calling for me). Nor am I called to the religious life. Believe me, I explored it, but I knew quickly that was not the case for me. I can tell you without the slightest bit of doubt that a large part of me will always be missing if I remain single forever.
2) I may not ever get married and have children.
When these two things are true in your life (or something similar... Like you want children, but may never have them, or you want a good relationship with your family, but it may never happen, or whatever is on your heart tonight that may or may not be a part of your life, or whatever it may be), then my friend, you are in for a lot of pain. I know this because of experience and because of the cries of so many hearts that have shared their pain/joy/light/darkness on their blogs as well. It's especially tough when it seems the whole world gets to have what you want, except you. And the holidays, that time focused on family and small children, when all your friends and cousins your age are bringing their husbands and multiple children, and you are still not. It's just tough.
I begged God to let me get married, have children. I tried to do everything in my power. I've done the computer dating thing, the blind date thing, even the speed dating thing (that's a trip and a half, let me tell you). I usually don't turn down dates, because I figure I'll give about anyone a chance (unless he sets off the creep-o-meter) and I am here to tell you that there are a lot of nice guys out there, just haven't found a fit for me. I have been as active as possible in a number of different things, both according to my interest and where I might meet people. I have been busy trying everything at times and at other times been busy living life and let whatever happens, happen. I have prayed my heart out, and I have cried when there were no words left. I have felt extraordinarily close to God and I have felt so far from Him that I questioned His existence. I have rested in His care and other times wondered why He hated me (intellect being different from emotion here).
I kept hoping that I would finally stumble on the secret formula for what God wanted from me so He would finally answer my prayer. Until finally, finally one day about 18 months ago I was so tired of it all, I finally gave up and told Him "whatever". I asked that He either fulfill the first truth in my life or give me peace with the second. I was no longer going to fight. Whichever He wanted for my life, He could have.
You know what His answer was? None of the above. He didn't give me one or the other, or take anything away, but asked me to surrender the tension of letting both be true. Not with words, I don't hear things like that. It was just a question in my heart if I was willing to accept both and even surrender being stuck in the wait. And in my ongoing attempt to do this, I have found peace, and I have learned something about desire. I think that both of these things are very on topic for Advent, so that's what I want to try to write, a post about peace and a post about desire.
Okay, I really thought this would be a two paragraph post. That's how it goes, you know. Start out with no words and end up with more than you quite know what to do with. If you did make it this far, I just wanted to let you know that the calendar giveaway is still going on. It will keep going until the calendars make it to my doorstep, and then I will randomly pick someone. Some have been sweet enough to ask if they could buy a calendar if they didn't win, and the answer is yes, yes you can. We will work something out. But first I have to see if they are only dinky, but good quality. I don't want you to pay good money for something that looks like I printed it off my parents' ancient printer! (That happened once with a calendar I bought from one website; hence my paranoia).