Thursday, August 2, 2012
I had some major revelations this week when a good friend compared my life to Pride and Prejudice. Before you roll your eyes and tune out, know that I'm not one of those girls. I didn't even read P&P until my best friend gave me a copy for my 25th birthday and made me promise to read it immediately. I enjoy and appreciate it, and its place in culture, but I'm not a purist about it. I even (gasp!) liked the 2005 movie. And now that I've alienated both the swoony Mr. Darcy side and the academic Austenite side of that debate, let's move on.
If there is a Mr. Darcy for me (so to speak; I'm not in love with Darcy himself), he hasn't yet made himself known. But there are more than a few Mr. Collins types out there. For those unfamiliar with the story, Lizzie refuses the proposal of Mr. Collins, who is a reasonably decent person and could provide for her, but is pompous and inherently bleah. They have no spark and nothing in common. Lizzie's mother, convinced that no one else will ask due to their family's poverty, is furious with her. But Lizzie can't allow herself to be tied to a drippy man, even if that decision has consequences for her and her family.
Like Lizzie, I have a major strike against me (being divorced, not a lack of dowry) when it comes to dating and stuff. I've been told repeatedly that I need to adjust my expectations, keep an open mind, be willing to do things differently, etc. etc. Up to this point I've been listening to those messages, and chalking any uneasiness up to my personal damage and general cluelessness about the idea of dating again. But what my friend helped me realize is that I don't have to say yes to Mr. Collins. I don't have to bury all my feelings and intuition in the name of Giving People A Chance or Putting Myself Out There. Yes, my circumstances aren't great, but I'm a valuable daughter of God, and I have the right and the ability to choose someone who makes me feel alive... or at least has the potential to. I'm not obligated to say yes to anyone who asks. It's not selfishness, shallowness, or snobbery. It's not immaturity. It's self-respect. And the same is true for all of you. If anyone, even someone close to you or someone you respect, wants you to take the first Mr. Collins who comes along and thank your lucky stars - shame on them. My choosiness might cause me to miss out on some important things, but at least I'll be able to hold my head high about it, and God will help me to bear it.
I felt so empowered by this idea that I needed to share, because I know someone else needs to hear it. I've also decided to start posting a little more often, and more specifically, about my experiences and thoughts as a divorced Christian person. I've noticed that it's not a very common viewpoint in blogs and on websites. I follow several blogs for Christian singles, but they rarely mention or address people who have been married before (or, for that matter, who are over 25). I guess most ministries assume the worst and want to avoid controversy. I've often wished there was more content out there for me, something to encourage me and make me feel less freakish. So I want to create some. As always, being divorced is only one aspect of my life, but it has deep roots - and I believe it's tied to whatever my life's ministry is supposed to be.