“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
– John 15:5 –
“For those of you who are married, imagine your life without your spouse. For those of you with children, imagine your life, it’s impossible, without your children.”
My pastor began his homily on a recent Sunday with these words. Well intended, to be sure, as he began to discuss what our lives would be without God and this comparison would help to conceptualize this lack for the congregation. Yet, unexpectedly, I was overcome with a wave of tears as I thought:
“What about me?! I don’t have any of that!”
Immediately, my mind was swept away from the current moment, the beauty of the Mass, and taken to a place I long to be. A place where I hold a sweet child in my arms, a place where the comfort of my husband’s arm encircles us both. Surrounded by my loving and vibrant parish community where seemingly hundreds of couples were living this reality with their hundreds of babies, I was overcome by my aching heart.
This is a constant struggle for me: presence in the current moment. How quickly am I able to forget about my present, my present which is very full.
I’m easily distracted by the lives of others. I constantly compare where I am to where friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers are.
Other women my age who are having their first, second, or third! child.
Other women my age who are getting engaged or married.
Other women my age who are moving up the corporate ladder, gaining prestige, wealth, and power.
Other women my age who are travelling to places I long to see, experiencing a life I wish I could afford the time or expense to live.
I’m easily overcome with wishing I had what any, or all, of them have….and lose sight of how much I love what I have.
I love where I live; my town and everything it has to offer.
I love my work, my co-workers, and why we do what we do.
I love the travels I’ve taken, the opportunities I’ve had, and the trips I’m planning.
I love the relationships I’ve cultivated, the friends I’ve made, the stories we can tell.
I love the independence my current life holds, with all it’s unpredictability and freedom.
The lives of other women my age are wonderful and beautiful and blessed.
And so is mine.
As a result of my recent birthday – 25! ah! – I’ve been hit once again with the reality that where I am in my life is not at all where I had hoped, or anticipated. But, this isn’t an inherently sorrowful reality.
What would be a sorrowful reality is if I wasted these present moments living in and for the future.
I’ve finally, truly found a place in my life where I’m content. I know who I am, where I am, and where/who I want to be. Why can’t I just sit in that and be content?! If I believe that He has a plan for my life, then I must also believe that this time is also part of His plan! These aches and pains are perhaps simply His pruning of the branches.
These desires of my heart, placed there by God, for marriage and children – ah, and these are such present desires! – are good and pure, but they are not the end-all-be-all.
I’m still coming to accept and embrace that my vocation, right now and forever, is to live fully as a follower of Christ. This is not dependent upon my relationship status. Nor is the need for me to grow and evolve into the woman God made me to be.
Regardless of if I’m single, dating, engaged, or married, I’m called to live for Christ every day and love Him above all else. Losing sight of that will only make His pruning more difficult.
Originally posted at Follow and Believe.