My dear Jil, it happens to all of us. Discouragement I mean. And I understand. Your birthday is approaching, and it’s yet another reminder you’re not married. You’ve prayed, done everything you know to do and it just seems the guy is not forthcoming. The ones that show up are the ones you don’t want. And you don’t want to compromise out of desperation. Yet in some ways you’re emotionally desperate. If only God would do this one thing for you, this one thing!
In that desire is a lot of private anguish. It’s what makes you moody and sometimes temperamental. You can’t seem to be able to help the mood. You know you’re like a dark cloud but you can’t help it. And when the loneliness hits you, it just seems the world has bottomed out from under you. It’s like you’re falling and falling and falling, down a well that is dark and without dimensions. You dread weekends. Too much free space of what to do that reminds you of your lack of companionship. And even during the week you fear getting up to face the day. It takes an effort. Especially if the thoughts of your loneliness conversed with you even in your sleep. Just discourages you. You sleep in the dark to calm your nerves but the darkness soon becomes oppressive. There’s a gravitational force in it. You contemplate your life over weekends – the fact you cook for yourself, eat alone. Everything alone. It’s an alone life. It’s okay when your friend comes over but it’s the lonely keeping the company of the lonely. It’s like both of you are consoling yourselves, denying obvious misery with attempted heroism and shame. And it just feels like God is not answering you, so much so you begin to wonder the ordinarily unimaginable.
Sometimes you wake up in the night, alone, and you feel sorry for yourself. Sometimes you cry yourself to sleep. You put up a brave face at work but inside you’re dying in slow motion, crying. And then you hear someone is getting married and you just feel so bad. You wonder what else you could have done. It just seems like you don’t know what else to do about life itself. It seems you don’t even understand life again, like you woke up to something unfamiliar. Then you examine your mistakes. May be your standards were too high you say to yourself. You go over your years, and you come to that year you thought you’d marry. But the year came and went. And now you’ve crossed that Rubicon year, the one you thought you’d never get to. You’d said if you give yourself a whole year it couldn’t be that hard to meet a guy. And yet here you are.
You already have your wedding gown made in your head. You’ve imagined the day. All that’s missing is the man. And every man you meet you wonder, Could this be the man? And then you meet this wonderful guy and you get along so well. Only to learn he has a girlfriend. Or he’s married. Seems all the good ones are married. That’s how it feels. All the good ones are taken. Gone! And then you have to attend your cousins’ weddings. You’ve grown past being a maid of honour so you feel like an aunt at those weddings. You wish marriage were based on age. If only. You know you’re not bad looking. You also know you’ll make someone a good wife, but it feels the guys are blind. Yet you don’t want to get too eager at socials lest it seems you’re desperate. Which of course puts people off but attracts opportunists. You’ve fallen prey to one or two – young men looking for a woman to take care of them. To these young men who’ve not been able to put their lives together you’ve become an attractive target. Nonetheless you find them amusing. It’s kind of complimentary when they say you don’t look your age. But then you think about it and it sounds so insulting to be approached by these small boys. What do they know about life? As a matter of principle you already determined you won’t date someone you can’t go out with.
I do understand all that and how low you can feel. Loneliness is not easy; can turn one to desperation. And in desperation we can take on destructive passion, going from one wrong judgment to another. In those moments we know what we’re doing is wrong but we persist, like some form of compulsion. It would seem like we can’t help it, and further and further we’re dragged in, pulled down. But it’s palliative and doesn’t really help us. It’s just a desperate self-destructive gambit. In our sober moment we rue some of those actions, begging God for forgiveness. Yet we can’t even promise God we won’t go down that route again. What’s the point of lying to God? All we need at those moments is just an encouragement that points in the direction of the solution we want. Just an encouragement, some sign, some promising phone call, anything!
We want to share, but who can be confidential with our emotions? Who won’t take advantage of us we wonder. Our perplexity makes us feel even sorrier for ourselves. It’s no man’s land we’re in. And the space is vast. Truth is, there’s no encouragement anywhere in these circumstances. It’s inside of us. You’ve somehow got to reach inside you and encourage yourself. If you concentrate on the things you’ve been blessed with, the difficulties you’ve overcome, encouragement will come. If you think of those horrible periods in your life and how you somehow got through, encouragement will come. I mean, what can you do? The man will come when he comes!
In the meanwhile, you’ve got to get on with your life. It will help if you widen your social circle. You shouldn’t stay by yourself in this state. Find somewhere to go. Call someone lest you feel depressed. Spouse or no spouse it’s healthy to socialize. Don’t confine your life. Don’t be down, okay? Just pick yourself up. Occupy yourself to get out of the blues. Tomorrow has its promises. And I hope this letter helps.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | email@example.com