By a single girl
So, I just had the honor of attending another l’chaim. 16 down from my class – 4 to go. And I shielded my eyes from the light emanating from the kallah’s smiles and the reflection of the sparkle in her eyes and felt the warmth of her joy slowly spreading through my limbs. I bounded up to her and threw my arms around her. Alright, I probably maybe might have been a little too excited and given her a few bruises. But who could blame me? She had been drafted into battle in the shidduch world for 3 years. She had been patient and had emerged victorious, none the worse for wear and a stronger being.
I could not have been happier for her. She looked radiant. She had but a moment to speak with me before she was pulled by one of the thousand iphone-bearing hands for a picture and during that moment she told me simply, “Im yirtza Hashem by you! I hope one day you can feel this happiness.”
Suddenly, my shiny, shimmering dreams of her glorious baby-filled future evaporated and I remembered. Oh, wow… I’m still single.
Not only am I still single, The color single has taken on a more vibrant hue due to a greater contrast between me and the rest of the 22/3/4 year-old population. Slowly, I am becoming the only remaining caterpillar in what seems like a world of butterflies. And being a caterpillar is amazing. Who wouldn’t want to be an awesome green fluffy crawling thing? Until all of your friends suddenly sprout wings and fly away. And one day you are casually chewing a leaf and you look around, and wonder… ‘hey, where’d everybody go?’
“Im yirtza Hashem by you.” I walked home silently in thought. Even the blessing was tinged with the sound of desperation. “PLEASE G-D BRING ME A BOCHUR TO SAVE ME FROM A LIFE OF DOOMED SINGLENESS.” I know that the words had not been meant that way. They were meant as a verbal gift of love and well-wishes.
But for some reason, the blessing stung. And I realized that it had aroused a feeling of a social truth in my mind. People feel bad for me. They look at me when I run a successful program and say, ‘Oh, poor Mushkie, she’s such a good girl. Why is she not married yet?’ They look at me when I choose to forgo another year of shlichus in order to pursue an education and say, ‘Mushkie, don’t you realize that this may harm your prospects?’ They look at me when I smile and say, ‘Oh! Mushkie! What a smile! What’s doing in the dating world? Someone must be causing you to smile like that!’
And to them, I nod and murmur some appeasing words. Internally, I respond to them all; ‘I’m not married because G-d has decided that I still have some growing to do. I’m pursuing an education because I have discovered that which I love doing and my thirst to share it with the world. And no, my smile is not because I’m dating the most fantastic bochur around. I’m smiling because it is raining outside and I simply adore the sound of rain.’ Because my life is about more than waiting impatiently.
Yes, I am single. My relationship status can be checked off in a defined box. But I am also a girl, an aspiring chossid, a writer, a poet, a youthful soul, an explorer, a giver, an intellectual, a fact-collector, a mashpia, a teacher, and a student.
I have a beautiful life and I am surrounded by beautiful people.
Single days are not something to rush through impatiently. That single period is not one of those dreaded in-between stages. It cannot be compared to being in-between floors on an elevator or sitting in traffic on the way to work. It is the long scenic route. It is an amazing, exhausting hike.
My life will not begin when I get married. My life has already commenced wonderfully. This IS my life. G-d is gifting each single day to me for a reason.
And when you say Im Yirtza Hashem by You, I will nod in assent, because – yes, if G-d decides I’m ready, I would love to change my relationship status on facebook.
And I will wish you Mazel Tov at your l’chaim. Because I am truly, truly happy for you for having an exciting day and reaching an exciting milestone and taking another exciting step in G-d’s Divine plan of your life. And I will gaze upon your joy and only wish you gallons more of it.
And then, I will wish myself Mazel Tov for the same things. I, too, have had an exciting day and have reached an exciting milestone (hey, I lost .5 lbs!) and have taken another exciting step in G-d’s plan of my life. I too, have a lot to look forward to and am commencing a wonderful journey.
So Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov! Because every one of us has so much to be grateful for and could all use a little mazel. May we all find what we are looking for, but on the way there, be able to truly enjoy and utilize the trip.