While I was on my mission, a certain young man whom I had been very interested in back home stopped writing to me. I soon learned from my mom that he was engaged. My reaction was very interesting. Although I was naturally disappointed at first–since he was someone I greatly respected and thought I’d like to marry—it didn’t last long. Recognizing that pining after him had been a distraction, I felt that his being out of the picture now freed me up to fully engage in the work. And upon further reflecting how such pining for love-and-marriage had robbed my college years of much of the enjoyment potential that engaged-learning-without-romantic-drama could have afforded me, I resolved: ‘Never again will my happiness depend upon a man!’ I immediately envisioned a meaningful life that I could look forward to as a single (graduating college, teaching high school Spanish for 5 years, taking a trip down to Argentina to visit all the friends I’d made . . . ). ‘I’m going to live my life, and if marriage happens along the way, fine.’
Sour grapes? Maybe. Or maybe an emotionally healthy decision.
Ironically, love found me quickly after I returned home–when (or perhaps because) I was least worried about it. According to my husband, Erik, the relaxed enthusiasm I exuded as a woman-with-a-plan was very attractive to him. His attentions, interesting conversation, and enthusiasm for me were also very attractive. We married just over a year later.
Recalling that mission experience today, I was struck by the peace-filled energy that came when I decided to work toward creating my future life rather than lament my current lack. The latter is such a waste! To pine away is, literally, “to lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief.”
Here’s to putting depression in its place by making decisions and moving forward! (Wish me luck.)