Saturday, February 26, 2011

grad reunions, weddings . . . reminders of singleness or something more?

Do you ever find yourself at the point where you wonder where the time has gone? And how it could have gone so fast? Then you begin to take stock of your life and compare where you are actually at to where you imagined you would be at this point. Some things have gone completely differently than you imagined - some things have gone exactly as you thought - and there are still some things you are hoping will happen.

That is the place I found myself about a month ago when I got the Facebook invite to my 10 year grad reunion. I had to recheck the year, because I was sure that it could not be that time already. But it is - 10 years after a graduation in 2001, is 2011 - this year. I started to think about all that the last 10 years had been filled with - and all that was still missing that I thought would happen in this time.

The more I thought about it, the more I found the list of things I felt were still missing in my life growing. And that list grew at a much faster rate than the list of all that had happened. It seemed as though there were a lot of things in the list of what I felt was missing that seemed to somehow be bigger or more important than the things I had done.

I really was not sure I wanted to go to my grad reunion when I got the invite. For the most part, school was not the greatest for me friends-wise and so by high school I really had given up on trying to really make friends. I had people I could sit with in class and have as lab partners, but not really friends. And so I was not sure that I wanted to go to my grad reunion ALONE. It seemed that it was little more than a reminder that I was still single - long past when I thought I would get married. I had always thought I would have a husband to take with me to this event.

And really, did I need my grad reunion to be another reminder that I was still single? Last May my youngest sister got married . . . before me. And this May, my other younger sister is getting married . . . before me. I do not begrudge them at all. They have both found amazing guys that I am glad are my brother-in-laws. But I always thought because I was the oldest I would get married first. I knew the world did not work that way, but I thought it anyways. For the last 16 or so months, my world has had a lot of wedding talk happening in it. Sometimes it is good - sometimes it gets to be too much and I wish I could hide from the world.

So I have been left to wonder how I will choose to view these events. Will I choose to see my grad reunion as little more than a reminder that my life is not what I had planned? (As if my plans have any bearing on what God plans anyways.) Or will I choose to go and enjoy catching up and use the reminder that it has been 10 years to focus on all that has happened in my life, rather than what has not? Will I choose to see my sisters' getting married before me as a reason to be depressed that I am still single? Or will I choose to celebrate their love and welcome my brothers (even when they try to shove cupcakes in my face)?

I sometimes think that in a world that sets us up to always want more - always want the best - to never be satisfied with what we have, it would be easy to look at these events and see only the downside of them, to see them as only reminders of singleness for longer than I wanted. But, I wonder if instead, they need to be turned into opportunities to praise God for what He has done in our lives.

I may not have been married, or bought a house, or any of those plans I was so sure would happen in the last 10 years. But I know that I have done many things - graduated from college, found a better job than I imagined I could, moved out with some great friends - and that God has done some incredible things in me as He shapes me more and more in His image. Those are things I need to focus on. Those are the things that matter. And as I choose to focus on the things that God has done in and through me, the other things fade into the background. The desire and hope for them does not go away - and I do not think it should. But what is most important takes over the larger part of my life and other things fall better into the places they should be.

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