The other day on the Metro coming back from work, I couldn’t help but people watch. I observed a couple and their son- he had to be about 6 years old. I watched the sweet family interact and I caught myself thinking I wonder how old this couple is. I wonder how old they were when they got married and had their son.
I constantly find myself comparing my life plan to others. Because, you see, at the ripe age twenty-two, the life calculations have officially begun.
Allow me to demonstrate my math:
Ideally, I want to have my first child by 28.
Subtract 1 year of marriage beforehand: 27.
Subtract 2 years of dating before that: 25.
My life calculations, thus far.
And with each day that passes that I’m not sure when I’ll be married with child- a bit of anxiety continues to increase. Anxiety stemming from fear. Fear that I will never meet the man I will call my husband. Or possibly worse, that I will have to settle for a mediocre relationship.
I think this kind of mindset is quite common amid my peers. There is so much unknown about our future. And Facebook with its engagement notifications doesn’t do much to kill the aggravating thought: “Is everyone going to get married except me?”
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a confessional booth for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And amongst my sins, I confessed to the priest:
I don’t fully trust God. I know this because I have a lot of anxiety about the future and I sometimes worry I’ll never get married or have kids.
When I had finished, and it came time for my penance, the priest addressed my aforementioned sin. He gently smiled and said,
I want to appoint two saints to you.
Firstly, St. Joseph. Pray to St. Joseph that he is forming your future husband. Pray that St. Joseph helps to make your future husband a good, strong, God-fearing man.
I nodded and smiled at this concept.
And secondly, St. Anne. She is Mary’s mother and would have arranged Mary’s marriage. Pray to St. Anne that she helps pair you up with the right man. You know, there’s actually a poem dedicated to St. Anne for this exact purpose. My mother used to pray it often before she met my father. Would you like to know what it is?
I leaned in closer to more perfectly hear this precious poem.
The priest continued,
Saint Anne, Saint Anne, send me a man.
A distinct laugh flew from my mouth. How brief and direct.
The priest continued speaking. He stressed to me I need to take advantage of this time of my singledom. I really need to form myself, because that will be so necessary for when I do have a family.
I walked out of the confessional booth with a feeling of invincibility and a sense of great freedom.Undoubtedly, it was because my soul had just been cleansed from its sins and impurities. I was filled with graces from the sacrament. But the penance this priest gave me in persona Christi relieved me of a burden I had been putting onto myself.
The term “husband-hunting” is commonly thrown around in young adult circles. It hints at the notion that women need to be on the prowl for a man. To actively seek. To constantly be on the lookout. It is truly unromantic and doesn’t allow men to pursue after a woman.
But I was cultivating that exact mindset for myself with my petty life calculations. I was putting an expiration date onto myself and on God’s plan. And by thinking “I better find my husband soon,” I was ultimately degrading men. No longer would I encounter a person; rather- I would be constantly evaluating every male I came into contact with to determine if they fit my dream-husband criteria.
I had been putting pressure on myself to find “the one.” But how is that rational? God is greatly invested in my future. If I am called to marriage and to be a mother- that vocation will affect generations to come. My marriage will determine future persons to be born onto this earth. It is possible that my children, or my children’s children, will be Doctors of the Church, or will cure diseases, or will simply love God greatly. God can never forget me, let alone all my future generations.
I cannot dismiss my own free will, though. I have a huge role to play in my vocation. But God’s role is greater and I am ignorant to dismiss His presence.
That is why I love the poem this priest shared with me: “Saint Anne, Saint Anne, send me a man.” It reminds me that God, Saint Anne, all the saints and angels are looking down upon me and praying for me. Pure prayers pouring down. I am not alone like I thought.
And I cannot be comparing myself to others. I must live in the present moment. God is in the present moment. And I need to be cognizant of His presence now. I need to embrace my life now.
No longer do I hear the faint sound of a ticking clock in the background- impatient until I am married with children. Rather, I hear the cheers from the saints above, celebrating as I continue to discover God’s will for me.
Saint Anne, Saint Anne, send me a man.
And until then, I will enjoy the present moment.
Tags » confession, courtship, dating, pursue, relationships, Saint Anne, Saint Joseph, single