Thoughts on My Long-and-Tortured (Sick-and-Twisted?) “Social Life” and Accompanying Seeming Eternal Bachelorhood: Why I’m Grateful for Even the Fleeting Attention (Usually One-Date-and-Out, Punctuated by Infrequent Periods of More Sustained Attention) Paid Me By the Fairer Gender
By Ken K. Gourdin
Another poster at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion mentioned that an address in the Church’s semiannual General Conference a number of years ago which incorporated President Brigham Young’s dictum that any as-yet-unmarried man over the age of 25 is a menace to society shook him from a “social stupor” and impelled him to find his Eternal Companion. (Marriage that occurs in one of the faith’s Temples is referred to as “sealing” and is “for time and for all eternity” rather than simply “until death do us/you part,” or, even less definitively, “as long as your love shall last.”
I don’t know that I’m in a social stupor … I’m not sure how one might describe my social state. It’s not as though I have ever been anti-marriage as much as it is that that particular step seems, for me and for whatever reason, rather like crossing the Rubicon. It’s not as though I haven’t had (at least) one opportunity: I loved that girl as much as I’ve ever loved anyone, but in hindsight, I’m sooo glad I didn’t marry into that family! Soap-Opera City! Drama, Yo Mama! As I mentioned on another thread, my brother recently met someone on e-Harmony. Money’s a little tight, and even on-line options have never really paid any dividends for me, but, who knows?
As for not really attracting sustained attention from anyone else, my thinking on that has evolved somewhat, as well. I used to think, “Well, one-date-and-out. All of those occasions were (and are) pretty much a waste of time and money, then, weren’t they (aren’t they)?” Now I think, “Well, Ken, the reality is that you’ve gone out with some girls that you had absolutely no business going out with” (read, “They’re waaay out of your league, Dude!” ). “Sure, one date’s only one date, but, by rights, they didn’t have to pay you even that much attention. You could count yourself blessed that they had enough class and grace at least to give you even that much, when they probably should simply have said, ‘No.'” And I do. Because, if not for them and others (others, who, perhaps, were closer to being in my own league), perhaps nobody would have paid me any attention … even if only for one date. It might not sound like much, but I’ll take it.
For more on the subject, see here (though some of this was written, perhaps, before my thinking had evolved as described above; all links last accessed December 14, 2016):
He stated that the address motivated him to find his wife’s “blissful shores.” I appended the following to my response to the above comment: “P.S.: Your ‘Blissful Shores’ comment reminded me of the chorus of a favorite hymn (see Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (1985) no. 273, “Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses” (chorus):
Blessed Savior, thou wilt guide us, Till we reach that blissful shore, Where the angels wait to join us, In thy praise forevermore.
In response to my entire post above, he encouraged me to not give up hope by quoting Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, pointing out, “[My wife] is way out of [my] league, but God is merciful. Remember: Even a poor tailor deserves some happiness.” I appreciated his encouragement, and, regarding his “Even a poor tailor deserves some happiness” comment, I replied:
Quite so, Good Sir, quite so. I am learning, though, the pitfalls of making one’s happiness contingent upon certain conditions being met, upon certain circumstances changing, and so on. My eyes are open. I try, likewise, to keep my heart open. “Never say never,” and so on. At the same time, the achievement of certain goals, of a certain goal … OK, I’ll say it: Finding/becoming an Eternal Companion … is contingent upon someone else choosing to exercise her agency [how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refers to free will] in a certain manner. No matter how much I might want something, I cannot, would not, abridge someone else’s agency to bring about that something. Christ died to give others the opportunity to exercise that agency, even if they might choose to do so in ways I might find, in some way, objectionable. As Paul wrote the Philippians, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).