Dear Miss Morielle of one year ago, the Morielle of January 2013,
One year ago January 1st was the most romantic night of your life. Jazz trumpets made time for your bouncing feet as you danced the Charleston into 2012: lonely, empty, and grinning like the cheeriest of Halloween pumpkins. You’d been at that party for hours, third-wheeling it bravely with two of your best friends who had married each other last summer. But alas, no man had been found to lead you in a proper swing dance. Hence, that Charleston: with limbs flying madly and every single tooth showing.
But then, in an instant you’ll probably never forget, a charming smile materialized out of that dim 12:01am haze. He was wearing a fedora and suspenders and was wordlessly holding out his hand to you, probably raising an eyebrow at the same time. I still can’t believe you made it to the center of that dance floor without fainting.
At that time, you interpreted the event just as you would the heroine of any novel. You read it as an allegory for the way you would eventually find a husband. After I stop looking, you told yourself, when I’ve learned to give myself over to the music all on my own: that’s when he will appear.
But now, one year later, the continuity is so broken. You’re sitting alone in your room a couple thousand miles away in China drinking some boiled water and trying to figure out how you got there. A mountain of missed opportunities to sit with lonely souls who reached out you are weighing heavily on your conscience. You want to make a resolution for the future, but you’re afraid – so very afraid that nothing will ever change.
You’ve realized you don’t have any idea how to dance.
At this point, you’re probably hoping I’m going to share some sort of insight that will prepare you for the year. Or that I’ll share a comment that will let you know that I (the you of one year later) finally understand how it all fits together. Something like, “Ah! If you only knew how it would all fall into place!” or even, “I’ve found that guy. I won’t let you know how or where, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it was so perfect – in a way only our loving Father could have planned.” or “Don’t worry, I’ve figured out how to love people!” I won’t say anything like that. I don’t have anything like that to share. If anything, my life now only has more cliff hangers.
However, I have gained a few things over the course of 2013. And no, they do not include the experience of romance, nor any kind of certainty about my call in life; though I know those are the two things you want more than anything else. Rather these things I have gained are things you need much more deeply than those things you want. They include a better command of Chinese, a wider and deeper knowledge of scripture, and some personal experience of what Oswald Chambers was talking about when he said, “My personal life may be crowded with small petty incidents, altogether unnoticeable and mean; but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God.” (My Utmost for His Highest 307)
Seek the pinholes, dear. Remember that “by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) Follow the cloud of smoke, day by day. Sit when it sits. Go when it goes. God’s not usually one to tell you where you’re going or why.
Arm yourself with scripture. It is the word with which Jesus fought the devil in the desert: why should your weapon be any different? And when songs and movies and those KTV screens confront you with the glittering idol of romance, revel in the multitudes of scripture through which God has spoken to you on this subject. Revel especially in 1 Corinthians 7, where you can learn that life is now. Your current circumstances never determine your ability to honor God, rather they are your opportunities to honor God. And no opportunities really matter but the present ones.
To be totally honest, I would still love to experience the mysterious adventure that is marriage and kids and all that. But if that time ever comes, it will be its own challenge. Right now I’ll face the challenge of today.
It’s been lovely writing to you, self of a year ago. I hope my advice one year from now is much better than the meager advice I’ve offered here. I also hope some of the ladies reading this will chip in with their advice. I can’t wait to hear it!
the Morielle of January 2014
What pinholes in your life helped you see God last year? And is anyone else living the cliff hangers?