Last night, I had a dream. I had finally opened my own luxury shop, and a special client came around. Ginger, likes blondes, Prince. My well-known customer service skills won me a date by the end of the shopping experience. And then I woke up, obviously. There goes my chance of bringing back the Royal Family to marrying Catholics, even if just in my sleep.
We’ve all watched countless princess films and read countless of books growing up. Yes, there is always some problem they face but in the end all is well, and love triumphs. Then you grow up, and it’s more Sex and the City. Legend has it that after ditching Andrea, but before settling for a lovely but boring Italian name that the Register wouldn’t have been able to give a Starbucks treatment to, one of the runner ups for my name was Samantha. I’ve always found it a funny story because I have a lot more in common with Samantha Jones than other characters on the series, except that people put us in the respective boxes of promiscuous New Yorker and good Catholic girl. And it’s not just the flowy blonde long hair. Samantha is non-judgmental and supportive. She’s the kind of friend who knows you even when you’re not that close, her candour and honesty are relatable. If you just reduce her to the Queen of the 5th Circle of Hell you are missing out.
We always have a tendency to pick a few things about ourselves and reduce our whole identity to it. “An atheist, a vegan and a cross-fitter enter into a bar. I only know because they told everyone within 2 minutes”, as the joke goes. Being upfront about it means that you get to find people like you. If you are a Christian and not publicly one you will be missing out on those conversations with people who were looking for someone to talk to, so there is that pressure too. It’s easy to make it the first thing everyone knows about us.
Our identity is found in Christ, and yet some of us love Asian food over Italian, my favourite colour is blue not red, I’m too introverted to be comfortable among Charismatics. We are each of us, with our singularity, His masterpiece, and we should be firm in appreciating it. We are not “an atheist”, or “a vegan”, or “a cross-fitter” or “a Catholic”. We are much more than a label.
As a young woman in a big city that moves way too fast, navigating relationships that come and go and sometimes are too intense too quickly, it’s a fine balance between being open to possibilities and not pushing my faith into the corner for the sake of not pushing people away. Despite knowing that we don’t date for the sake of it, I’ve never been the type to demand to date only another Catholic like me. Maybe I have been inspired by the life-long love of my grandparents, an atheist Communist and a devout Catholic.
Sure, those families bringing their five daughters in little mantilla veils are so nice to see. I’d love to have a daughter and buy her a little veil for her first Holy Communion, hoping that she’d embrace such a wonderful devotion. Oh how I long for that! And yet, when I truly think about it, it’s just externalities. The family praying together is one path to discipleship, but not the only one. Truth is, people who wouldn’t have anything to do with God pushed me closer to Him than I’d have ever imagined.
I may not have the sexual history of Samantha Jones, in fact many conversations with men go like this:
“So, you’re a Catholic, eh?” “I am” “Are you one of those no sex before marriage ones?” *NOT AGAIN!!!!* “Yeah” .
But I have the same sense of drifting away with the current, and see myself growing older and a stronger woman and moving around in circles rather than forward. Which, when you’ve always wanted to get married and everyone else is settling down and you just can’t find someone, is a bit rubbish. You resolve yourself to seek the things of heaven first, but the panic is there, lingering. Will I die alone? And you focus on the fears and are back to square one, trying to remember that being single doesn’t make you any less lovable, and any less loved, as God loves His children equally, and that there are things more important anyway. I have burnt my belief of being not enough at the foot of the Cross (quite literally, on a piece of paper, at a day retreat). You can’t just pray harder and see your life magically fall into place and Prince Charming kneeling down next to you at the altar, and if someone ever makes you feel that your faith isn’t enough just don’t let them in. A wonderful woman bought be a card that says “Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up”, and that’s so true. I will treasure it forever.
Being single and a Christian when you’re not discerning religious life can make you feel lesser than. And it’s OK to feel down sometimes. You need to learn to trust in God’s timing even when it, frankly, sucks. And it’s hard, because that’s not who we are. We want to know we’re in control of something. But if there’s a lesson I’ve learnt is that expecting our happiness to depend on one person who is set to fail from the start is not going to end well.
And so I collected the pieces of a broken heart in my veil, and laid them down on the altar, to the only One Whose love endures forever, and I wait.
This post is part of #LoveBlog, a daily blog link-up every day in February with daily prompts. Today I’m co-hosting on the theme of Faith.
Meet Tayler Morrell: Mormon stay at home mom married to her best friend, Justin, for 3.5 years. Mother to 19 month old Rhys. “Retired” history and English teacher, runner, lover of video games, fantasy, books, and cooking. Consumer of Italian food, chocolate, steak, and strawberries.
Meet Brita Long: Christian feminist blissfully married to Dan Fleck for almost two years. Lover of Paris, pink sparkles, sensible shoes, manicures, and books. Fueled by hot tea and mimosas.