Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

I’m Okay

on September 19, 2014

Do not be in a hurry, the right man will come at last.
                                                —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Denial

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

I’m smack dab in the middle of editing my nonfiction version of Spinstered, which takes a look at the seven stages of grief through the eyes of my single life. As I worked on this section in the chapter on denial, I decided to share it with you this week.

***

During my 30s and, especially, my 40s, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the truth of my life. And, to be honest, there are still days when it feels rather surreal. During my mid-forties, though, this was especially true. At times I would shrug and insist I was perfectly fine walking my journey alone. What difference did it make? One path was as good as another. The next minute it felt so completely wrong. I would lift the spear of my marriage dream like Don Quixote, prepared to fight windmills—or God, in my case—if that was what it took. This isn’t my life, I insisted. I’m supposed to be married with children, like practically everyone I know. Being single was the illusion.

You know those movies where the main character hits her head or makes a wish or puts on a pair of pink bedazzled shoes and wakes up to find herself living a completely different life? That’s how I felt. Maybe I really was a wife and mother who’d forgotten what a blessing my family was. Then I’m in a car accident. As my body lies mangled and tube-attached in a hospital bed, I have a chance to find out what it’s really like to be single, a magical opportunity to learn to appreciate my husband and kids more. Soon I’ll wake up from this illusion and find a strong arm around me as charming, towheaded mini-mes bounce on the bed. Just like it’s supposed to be.

But life isn’t a movie. I’m living my reality. I’m not sure when that moment came; that day—if there was a specific one—when I made the decision that landed me so firmly in Spinsterville. Did some great guy ask me out and I turned him down? Was someone interested but I never knew and, as a result, never gave him the encouragement he needed? Or was it a series of minor events that took me down, like termites destroying a home?

On the other hand, maybe there was nothing I could have done, no choice I could have made that would have resulted in marriage for me. And I didn’t know which was sadder: that I missed my chance . . . or I never had one. So, I forced myself to not think about what I couldn’t change. If I truly believed God was in control, then I had to accept the truth that if He wanted me married, that’s what I would be.

I tried to let the idea of love and marriage go. I really did. But for years the only way I knew how to do that was by living in denial about what I wanted … or just refusing to think about it at all.

Still, being the romantic I am, I also spent a lot of time trying to convince myself it could all still happen. Turns out, that was just another form of denial. Next time, I vowed, I’ll make the right choice. I’m not that old. I’m not that unattractive. I’m not that stuck in my ways. I’m still fun and interesting and passionate. My friends and family would agree. I think. For the most part, they’re very supportive.

What would I have done without their heartfelt reassurances that “somewhere out there is a fantastic man that God has saved just for you. And I can’t wait to see what happens when you meet him!” Of course it was encouraging, hearing someone I love say exactly what I wanted to hear. Maybe it was more than just encouraging. Maybe, I whispered to the part of me still clinging to the dream, it was a direct word of promise from God.

Because that’s what you do when you’re living in denial. Everything can be explained. Or excused. I heard hidden meanings in the pastor’s sermons and tried to interpret the smiles or gestures or nods of the Guy With Potential I had my eye on. I could convince myself of just about anything … then had to live with the disappointment when I realized I was wrong.

Over the years, I had to slowly work my way out of denial by making myself come face to face with the truth of my singleness. And why God chose me to be so.

***

Are you living in denial regarding your singleness … or any other part of your life? If so, what truth does God want you to see?

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2 responses to “I’m Okay

  1. Carole Brown says:

    Getting to the root! Good post, Sharyn!

  2. sharynkopf says:

    It’s a hard truth to face but definitely one worth accepting. Thanks, Carole!

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