I was not surprised when I ran into her during my vacation last year, I was walking in her neighborhood afterall. She looked the same, with her short straight hair, her heavy make up and most importantly her beautiful smile that lights up any place she visits. I stopped her without even thinking and asked "Mrs. Y, do you remember me?" She looked at me, looked through me, and I felt that I lost her for a second. I told her my name and she said to me that it's been 18 years. She immediately jumped into the marriage question without even asking "How are you?". I fulfilled her curiosity with the "Single" word so we could move on, but we got stuck there. She complained that her son was not married yet and that she was really sad about it. She said that she was not the kind of mother who puts pressure on her son to tie the knot but she was worried because she wanted him to have his own family, with kids running to him every time he opens the door, and a wife who cooks for him and keeps him company. I asked her the same question I ask other parents usually when it comes to marriage, "was that what he wanted too?" I then lost her completely, she said she didn't know, she just wanted him to be happy.
Once upon a time, seems ages ago, I left a place that was single-minded about marriage. I arrived to a place where singles are allowed to live their lives with no judgment (or maybe with some, but at least not to your face). I embraced that culture and learned to love my life as is. Every day I meet all kinds of customers at my work place; the happily married with kids and dreams and future, the miserably married with kids and unfulfilled plans and past, the happily divorced with "I would never do it again" promise, the bitterly divorced with a mistress called Candy and a glass of whisky and a cigar, the totally indifferent ones with expired dreams and suicidal thoughts, and finally the singles. But regardless of the marital status, I notice that those people are not so different. What's different about them is the knowledge they have about themselves ………….. or the lack of it.
Married or not married is not something you add to your resume. You are not more impressive either way. You are more impressive with how you make the best out of your situation regardless what it is. Some people who are married wish they never got married, and some wish they'd done it a decade earlier. But does marriage seem to be the taken for granted-future of any human being? Does it have to be the destination and the destiny? Does the fact that some people are not cut for marriage and prefer to be single sound pathetic to you? According to a research at UCLA (oh who the hell I'm fooling) according to most married people (at least the ones I know), Marriage is the ultimate goal of life, and according to a lot of single people, sadly enough, it is too. The reason I say sadly, is because it tells me that those singles are not happy with their status quo (Says the single man). Marriage is great, but it doesn't define you, it could possibly make you a better person, it could make you happier, but is it a guarantee? One thing for sure, it's not a competition, and married people are not one step ahead of single people.
My last customer before I wrote this blog was a single lady in her early 60s. She was happy and respectful and I might forget her name and her face altogether, but I don't think I would forget her smile and positive energy. She said to me that she wants to make sure her debit card would still work while visiting Australia in two weeks. I said to her that we wouldn't wanna mess up her trip by blocking her card. She volunteered with more information, telling me that she and her friend once a year plan a trip somewhere in this beautiful world to see something different and this year they're so excited about Australia. She had a book in her hand and naturally it grabbed my attention so she added, "every birthday my friends and I buy each other books, I love reading and discussing books with them." That woman, doesn't have kids, doesn't have a husband, made her own family with her friends and is making the best out of her single situation to the best of her ability.
The question thrown at me from time to time is "Well, who are you going to leave all this for? Who's going to carry your name?" All this what? I'm not a millionaire (yet) and if I had kids, I'd love to leave everything for my kids, but since I don't, why should I worry about that? As for my name, well, I would like my name to be remembered by the difference I make in life, otherwise, I don't want to be remembered at all.
I agree that marriage is a great way to celebrate life, and that having kids gives it a dimension a single person might not understand or have the privilege to enjoy, but it isn't just one way. Or is it? and if you say it is, what do we do now? should we ask Jesus why he didn't get married?