“I said yes!” The all-too familiar phrase flashes across my screen. My first reaction is joyful surprise at another of my friends accepting a marriage proposal. My second reaction, almost simultaneous with the first, is a pang of grief. My friend enters a new stage of life, never to be the same again. I am losing part of her.
Perhaps I feel some jealousy when a couple gets engaged; I would love to be married someday. But not yet. I am called to a different destiny for the time being. What I do feel is a form of nostalgia for the girl I used to know – the one whom I’d stay up late with, talking about our dreams, our insecurities, our sexual frustration. No longer would we share the kinship singlehood provided. She has found her calling to be a wife, and I do not wish her to neglect that calling. It is as it should be, but it still hurts.
The challenge of saying yes to something is sometimes it requires saying goodbye to something else. We will not cease our friendship simply because she is getting married. In fact perhaps our friendship may take on a deeper meaning because she is following her calling, becoming more the person she is meant to be. But our friendship as I once knew it will be no more. Something has shifted, grown, evolved.
The woman I described above is not just one friend, but multiple of my friends who have evolved, one by one, to meet their calling. I, like Jo in Little Women, question “Why does everyone have to go off and get married? Why can’t things stay the way they are?” But just as I would not wish children to remain children (when they are meant to become adults), so would I not wish for my friends to remain single when they are meant to be married.
Strangely enough, the engaged women I see on my social media feed are often people I have lost touch with. I have longed to connect with them, but our paths have taken different turns over the years, and the closeness I once felt with them is but a memory. I cherish those memories, I grieve them, I hold them close to me. Most of them may not even know how deeply I valued our connection, however short a time we had it. Through life changes, our individual communities changed, and it was no longer practical to share the same closeness we once did. Oh, but I miss that closeness.
As I say goodbye to the parts of these women I once knew, I find myself saying yes to something else on the horizon. Not a marriage proposal per say, but a calling nonetheless. A deep stirring within my spirit, beckoning me to move. I will not neglect this calling, much like my friends will not neglect their calling to marriage. My soul whispers, “It is time.” And I am ready.