|"Auntie" by Auntie and Popcorn. She misses Uncle.|
It would have been amazing, and I would have been saved a lot of sorrow, had I known from age 9 or so that B.A. was waiting for me in the future, just as I know that B.A. is currently waiting for me at home and I'll see him (God willing) some time on Thursday. If my faith in God's plan for me had been as strong as my belief that I'll see B.A. next week, I would have had something much closer to the serenity of knowledge. Oh me of little faith.
Meanwhile, I have been visiting more formerly Single pals. Life works such enormous and amusing changes. The friend who wailed, "Where is [the One]?" is happily married, with chickens in her urban garage because the coop is too cold. The friend who was equally worried about the advent of the One is also happily married, has three children under seven and looks a little tired. The friend who was a fiery urban opera singer is living in Vermont, heavily pregnant, chasing a toddler, married to a farmer with movie-star good looks.
"Everyone is on a different schedule," a Catholic cop who grew up in my parish once told me, and I found that of enormous comfort. It's true. If you really want to get married--and this means you actually enjoy the company of the opposite sex as it is (or we are) and you have a good grasp of what marriage actually is--then you probably will get married. To be brutally frank, any of us Westerners could get a spouse from the Third World (or Russia) with a few emails and American dollars, but we don't, do we?
We don't because the "marriage" we can buy is not the marriage we want. We recognize that marriage begins in friendship. Marriage is the ultimate in human friendships--"friendship caught fire", as Ann Landers (I think) once said.
Sexual attraction can make or break a male-female friendship. The unselfish friend who does not want to marry the friend in love with him/her leaves that friend alone to recover and, hopefully, find another friend to marry. The unselfish rejected suitor takes his/her disappointment on the chin and goes away for awhile, not to stew in bitterness, but to see the beloved with greater objectivity. People who are neither inclined to marry the attractive person nor able to inspire a deep depression in him/he, can--spouse and culture permitting--keep up a light flirtation for forty years. (Yes, I know Mary Crawford of Mansfield Park said something similar. IMHO, Mary Crawford gets a bad rap. Who would you rather talk to at a party, eh, Fanny or Mary?)
I must write another post on flirtation soon. Flirtation, when honest and mutually agreeable, is great training against the seductions of men from outside the Anglosphere. All over the world there are women who know that when 99% of the men of the world say "OMG, you are so beautiful I'm in love with you and I want to marry you and have children with you" to random women they barely know, they are lying. When I was forty, dressed as Dame Maggie Smith, pushing Hilary White around her Mediterranean town in a wheelchair, teenage boys playing soccer in the street gazed at me with bedroom eyes crying "Che bellezza!" What nonsense. Anglosphere men almost never say such delightful things to women, so we are suckers for les autres.
Well, that is a different post (or two) entirely. To sum up this post:
1. B.A. marvellous and worth waiting for.
2. God has many wonderful surprises in store for people who respect themselves and others and enjoy the company of the opposite sex.
3. Everyone is on a different schedule.
4. Sexual attraction makes a wonderful servant but, as we oldies know, a lousy master.
5. Marriage is rooted in, and begins with, friendship.