Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Seven Ways I Know I'm Not a Real Housewife


I go to the vegetable market to buy vegetables, and get really excited about ALL THE VEGETABLES! I also take a photo of them when I get home. And post it on Facebook.


I spend all evening cooking ONE meal.


And am super-excited and self-congratulatory about it.


I am even more proud of the fact that I am making MULTIPLE dishes which involve multiple steps (not just dal or beans that consists of my meal for the next three days).


As I cook, I wish I had a food photographer chronicling every stage of the cooking experience. Or at least a phone camera that works. Still, I take grainy photos of the food I cook with my itouch. AND post them on my blog, unapologetic of their terrible quality.

 Cauliflower dum masala- cauliflower in a fried onion and tomato paste, with coriander and lime

Plum jam

Thecha/ Kharda: Fried and ground green chillies, garlic, salt and coriander. (OH.MY.GOSH. SO YUMMY!)

Chapatis and parathas (flatbread made from whole wheat flour, normal part of every meal an Indian eats)


I await the shock and amazement and delight that my room mate is sure to express when she find there is REAL FOOD IN THE HOUSE.


The first thing I do after cooking and eating my meal is write an entire blog post about it.

Can you even imagine a REAL housewife doing this every time she cooked a meal?

P.S. Anxious Sue would never have been able to spend a relaxing evening cooking without freaking out about all the many things she could have/should have been doing instead.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

My Experiences with Anxiety and Peace

A couple of days ago, I had a vivid dream. In it, I was hurtling forward in a plane that was trying to land, but couldn't find a place to stop, towards... wait for it... the end of the world.

Yes. Subtle, my dreams are not.

Over the past two years I've struggled with anxiety. Not just feeling worried, neither an anxiety that needs to be medicated, somewhere in the middle. An anxiety that affected my breathing, made my mind and my heart race, tightened my stomach into knots, given me indigestion, and made me lose my appetite and a lot of weight. Although it started off in my mind, my thoughts would start affecting my body. I introspected and read up a bit, and realized that it was related to avoidance, and fear. My mind would be in constant 'fight or flight' mode, and adrenaline would be coursing through my body (not in a good way) because everything looked like a potential disaster. Everything felt like an emergency. That I couldn't handle.

If I had to pick words to describe how I felt a lot of the time it would be:

Impending Disaster.

(Kind of how you feel when you watch Lost. Or 24.)

The thing was there wasn't really any big thing to be worried about. Maybe I had more responsibilities than I had had in the past, but nothing crazy unmanageable. But I spent a lot of my time feeling overwhelmed. Especially on Tuesday mornings when my work week began (my day off is on Monday).

When I took a break from all my commitments and slowed down, the anxiety stopped. But when I returned, as I had to, so would the anxiety.

I tried different things to deal with it. One of my team members taught me breathing exercises to slow down my heart rate. That helped a little. They prayed for me. I tried to delegate more, and accept that I couldn't do it all. I tried to face my fears, and think "What exactly am I afraid of? What is the worst that could happen?" That helped too.

As I recognized what I was going through, I was able to talk about it, and I found that many people I knew had gone through or were going through the same thing. I was able to be a lot more sympathetic than I used to be (thinking uncharitable thoughts like 'Just get over it') now that I knew what it felt like.

Some practical advice people gave me helped- don't eat spicy or oily food, get enough sleep and make sure I eat (without food and sleep it was a downward spiral of panicky overwhelmedness), make to do lists every day, and set small achievable goals. They also told me to exercise because exercise releases endorphins, the magic happy hormones that make everything better, but.. well... I didn't.

You know what helped the most? (I've actually mentioned this several times.) The book 'Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart'.

Now I realize no magic book can cure anyone's problems by itself. The reason this book is so powerful is because when I read it, I hear very clearly the calm, reassuring voice of God. Fr. Jacques Philippe is in touch with the same God I believe in. And he logically, beautifully, simply captures the essence of the peace God wants to give us.

It is logical, but beautifully logical. For me, posters of nature saying 'Just trust God' don't help. I need more. And the book gave me more.

'Who can guarantee himself the assured possession of any kind of good? It is not by making certain calculations and preoccupations that one is going to find a solution... To preserve peace in the midst of the hazards of human existence, we have only one solution:

We must rely on GOD ALONE, with total TRUST in Him, as your Heavenly Father knows what you need.

Jesus wants to deliver us from the worry that gnaws away at us and causes us to lose our peace. What useless suffering and torment they would save themselves, if only they would take seriously these words which are God's, and words of LOVE, of CONSOLATION, and of an extraordinary tenderness. 

Our great drama is this: Man does not have confidence in God. He looks in every possible place to extricate himself by his own resources and renders himself terribly unhappy in the process rather than abandon himself into the tender and saving hands of his Father in heaven...

All of our spiritual life consists precisely in a long process of re-education, with a view to regaining that LOST CONFIDENCE, by the grace of the Holy Spirit who makes us say anew to God: 'Abba, Father.'

How does one grow in this total confidence in God? ...Not only by intellectual speculation and theological considerations.. but by a CONTEMPLATIVE GAZE ON JESUS.

Would not the supreme love of Jesus on the cross- untiringly contemplated and captured in a gaze of love and faith, fortify our hearts little by little, in an unshakable confidence?

How can one abandon oneself to God and have confidence in God if one only knows Him from a distance, by hearsay? The heart does not awaken to confidence until it awakens to love; we need to feel the GENTLENESS and TENDERNESS of the Heart of Jesus. This cannot be obtained except by the habit of meditative prayer, by the tender repose in God which is contemplative.

Let us therefore learn to abandon ourselves, to have total confidence in God in the big things as in the small, with the simplicity of little children.'

Although my struggle with anxiety is not totally over (witness above-mentioned dream), I believe that my spiritual re-education has begun. I am learning to abandon myself in the big things and in the little, to let go of the control I clung to so tightly, and to taste the sweetness and intimacy of a Father who invites me to trust Him.

I'm jumping.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

7QT: Pet Peeves

Alternate Post Title: Things That Make Me Roll My Eyes and Say 'Oh My Good Grief' Multiple Times

#1 Overly Dramatic Fear-Mongering End Times or Just Plain Ridiculous Text/Whatsapp Forwards

I just. don't. understand. why people can't take a second to google whether or not Obama is really implanting computer chips in people's brains or whether Whatsapp is really going to start charging you if you don't forward this message. I assume that to most people, ridiculous claims SEEM ridiculous. But if you're not quite sure, check! DO NOT forward to everyone on every group you belong to.

I always wonder who starts off these things. I guess I could see my evil Alter-Ego giggling maniacally to myself, "I wonder how many poor suckers will believe this one: 'Attention all Christians! Whatsapp has been infiltrated by the Satanists and the only way to combat them is to forward this prayer to every contact on your list. <Insert prayer> PLEASE DO NOT DELETE. PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE. Everyone forwards a funny message, but how many will have the courage to forwards this message? AMEN.'"

If someone is trying to pressure you to forward a message, that is a great reason to doubt it's veracity.

# 2 Lame We-are-the-Church-Social-Justice Hymns at Mass

Hey, I'm all about social justice, serving the poor, the Hole in the Gospel, Mother Teresa and all that jazz. But why must we SING about it? Sacred music is supposed to lift us to God in some way, put us in touch with the Divine, not be an anthem for some kind of social justice rally or a self-back-patting of what a loving warm accepting community we are. 'We are happy Christians all united in the Lord, we belong to one family.' 'As We Gather' starts out okay, but the the third verse goes 'We are folk who show concern for one another/Yes we know that God has given gifts to share/Whether rich or whether poor, down and out or blessed with more/ We are gathered here to tell you how much we care.' OH MY GOOD GRIEF!!!

Or 'Here we are, altogether as we sing our song joyfully/Here we are, altogether as we pray we always be/ Join we now as friends, and celebrate the/Brotherhood we share, all as one/ Keep the fire burning, kindle it with care, And we'll all join in and sing.'

I mean, seriously, COME ON!

#3 Marriage Jokes

Oh wait I already wrote about that. But really, please, married couples, tell us the GOOD things about your spouse.

#4 Little Kids Who are Applauded for Acting/Looking/Dancing Sexy

I hate this! What happened to innocence? Innocence is a GOOD thing, and we need to work to protect it. But kids will do whatever gets them their parents' attention. Not to mention, it's usually the parents dressing them up sexily, calling them sexy, and encouraging them to do some seductive Bollywood dance moves. I once attended a church event where a bunch of kids were dancing to a Bollywood 'item number'. I had to avert my eyes because it was just WRONG to see those sweet innocent souls moving in a way that was provocative and inviting. What was more upsetting was that NOBODY else seemed to think it was a problem in any way.

I also hate the seductive poses they're encouraged to strike for photos. Uggh.

#5 Lame Excuses/Assumptions/Prejudices about the Underprivileged

Like they're ALL trying to cheat you. Or are dishonest in some way. Or that we should NEVER help a beggar, no matter what. Or that pretty much anyone who asks for help should be treated with suspicion. Or that one bad experience excuses you from ever helping anyone ever again.

#6 Indians who assume all Indians should leave for the 'greener' pastures of the West

I get that in many ways life is easier, more efficient, less polluted in developed countries. You trust the police and the legal system, and the streets being clean and without potholes is not a luxury, but an expected part of normal life. You get jobs that pay far more, and your kids are likely to get a better education and even better paying jobs. Still. Why should we all just leave India without a backward glance, trying to make a better life for ourselves and forgetting about all that we could do for the millions who don't have the option of leaving? And don't forget that it's not all greener- you're leaving behind your family support system, your roots, sometimes a clearer moral compass for your children, sometimes a simpler (and cheaper) way of life.

#7 Speeches and Formalities at Functions

We must do these things because these things are done. There MUST be thank you speeches which always include the words 'All good things must come to an end' and 'Last, but not least'. We must waste everyone's time saying all the things that everyone says every time. We must also give the chief guest flowers and multiple shawls. What do they do with all those shawls? How do they keep those fixed smiles on their faces? The few times I have been in a position of being applauded and honoured made me want to sink into comfortable anonymity not because I'm shy or humble (quite the contrary), but because the FORMALITY made me want to scream!

Okay, I'm done. What are your pet peeves?

More quick takes at This Ain't the Lyceum.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Nature, Interrupted

I sat in the beauty of our large verandah in the (semi) early morning, sipping my coffee, and ready to begin my personal prayer time. In the crowded, polluted city that I live, having this space, surrounded by green is pure gift. The last apartment I lived in didn't let any sunlight into the house, and didn't have even the tiniest semblance of a balcony.

So I reveled in this clean, green moment. "Thank you Lord, for this beautiful place and time. I feel Your presence...."

The (semi) silence of the morning was broken by a sudden outbreak of crows cawing violently in the tree overshadowing the verandah.

"What's going on? Are they warning me about an earthquake?"(Worst Case Scenario are my three middle names.)

And then like a conquering hero, the Cat sprung onto the wall dividing our verandah from the building terrace.

With a dead bird in its mouth.

My quiet peaceful morning slunk away.


The Cat stared at me coldly for a moment, and then sprung down to our verandah, stalked away gracefully, and deposited the dead bird behind a plant.

"I may allow you to co-exist in my verandah for a while," the Cat seemed to say. "But don't push it."

(My room mate R was less intimidated, and tried to spray water at it to chase it away. And then it accidentally fell off the terrace wall, five floors down. But then again, maybe it didn't because it re-appeared alive and well shortly after.)


A year ago I was at a beautiful town up in the hills for a retreat my organization was running. One morning we got everyone to wake up early to climb up to a volcanic plateau area. A perfect spot for a gorgeous time of prayer with the Creator, we thought.

We even took a flask of ginger chai, and biscuits. I mean, seriously, could life get any better?

I was perched on the edge of the cliff with my bible, prayer journal, and cup of chai, overlooking the hill town, and the valley in the distance, feeling the cool morning air.

I began to write:

And then I heard something... or someone behind me.

A dog, I thought, only as I turned, it wasn't a dog but a monkey. Just a monkey, right? I used to want a pet monkey when I was 12.

I shooed it away. But instead of showing any sign of backing off, it took a few steps closer.

This is when I jumped up, nervously. Please don't forget the fact that I was on the edge of a cliff. The monkey grabbed my empty chai cup, and almost got my bag before I snatched it up and tried to make my escape. There may have been some freaking out too. Thankfully there was no tragic falling off a cliff.

The monkey attempted to continue terrorizing retreatants until it was scared off  by a friend who... wait for it..... raised his arms and roared at the monkey.

Yes, indeed.

Communing with nature. So peaceful.

Monday, 4 May 2015

A Series of Unfortunate Events

"Let's go for a movie!"

"Brilliant- air conditioned theatre in the heat of the summer- I'm in!

"Home? It's an animated movie."

"Let's do it!"

 Off we went, quite pleased with ourselves. We don’t go out for movies very often. The mall was buzzing with activity, it seemed like the world and his extended family had decided that the best way to spend Sunday evening was watching 'Home' at the mall.

Yes... the show was full, not a single ticket available.

"No problem," we said, determined to be upbeat. It just so happened that we were the only four people left in the world who hadn't watched Avengers: Age of Ultron. So we decided to watch that instead.

"I never watch those kind of movies," confided one friend. "What is it about?"

"Saving the world with superpowers," I said, vaguely.

 "The SIX THIRTY SHOW. TODAY. FOUR TICKETS," my friend reiterated at the ticket counter, loudly. "Just making sure there are no mistakes," she said. The only remaining four seats together were in the third row.

"Oh, well," we said. "We'll survive."

"It's a 3D movie? Oh. I hate 3D movies... but it's okay."

We waited in the club-style room, with dim lights, club music, and awkward rows of creepy looking men sitting on couches and staring at us. I bought over-priced coffee, and loudly expressed my shock at the Rs 20 added tax.

"Did you know malls create an environment that clouds your mind with the loud music and dim lights and too much stimuli, and keeps you slightly confused, so you’re more likely to buy things?"

"Darn it! And I fell for it."

Finally, we made our way into the theatre, and took our third row seats, and fished out our contraband snacks. We waited through the ads and trailers, stood up for the national anthem, and finally the lights dimmed, and the movie started.

And then.... We saw the name of the movie in the Hindi script- अवेंजर्स: एज ऑफ अल्ट्रॉन

A sense of foreboding. "No.... it can't be. Can it be?"

It was.

We were stuck in a theatre watching Avengers: Age of Ultron... dubbed in Hindi. None of us are fluent Hindi speakers. I watch superhero movies for the plots, the sub plots, the subtlety, and the witty dialogue, NOT the action. Unfortunately, all I could follow was the action.

When we stopped laughing, we probably afforded plenty of amusement to those seated closest to us. Every chance we got, whispered explanations began.

 "What's happening?"

"The super computer brain is planning to kill the Avengers. He says that will save the world."

"Is it because he's just evil, or because he really thinks it will save the world?"

"It's hard to tell. Can a computer programme really be evil?"

"Also, did Stark make him?"

"No, he was in the wand."

"Oh. Okay."

"What’s the plan now?"

“Um, Ultron wants to destroy the world, and the Avengers are going to stop him.”


I read facial expressions, the body language, and connected it all with how superhero movies usually go, and the smattering of Hindi vocabulary that was actually familiar to me, and it all kind of made sense. Just minus the subtlety and the details. And plus dramatic Indian voices and sound effects.

At the end, we agreed it wasn’t a wasted evening:

We got to hang out together in did I mention an AIR CONDITIONED theatre? (Yes, it’s been over 40 degrees the past few days.)

We got to laugh at ourselves and a ridiculous situation.

We (I) got to face exactly how bad our (my) Hindi is.

And most importantly, I got me some BLOG FODDER!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Where was God when the Earthquake hit Nepal?

Are you scared and sad and upset by the devastation of the earthquake in Nepal? More than 5000 dead, 8 million affected, cities, buildings and homes destroyed. It's more than a news story that you glimpse on the morning news. Or at least it should be.

When things like this happen, and they do, a lot, our human response is to look for reasons, answers, patterns. We ask, "Why?" Well, even when I suffer the tiniest little bit, or things don't go the way I expect or want them to, I ask "Why?"

Inevitably when it comes to death and suffering or anything out of our control, our thoughts also turn to God. And we wrestle with some difficult questions.

"Why did God allow this? Was he not ABLE to stop it? Was he not MERCIFUL enough to prevent such suffering if He could? Or did He not KNOW?"

Some of us give up on the idea of a loving, merciful God. There IS no pattern. Life is just meaningless suffering. Atheism or agnosticism seems the only option.

But some us feel like there HAS to be meaning, that the fact that we are instinctively repelled by evil and suffering means that that was NOT what we were made for, that it is not the original plan, that we WERE made to be happy, and that Evil is the anomaly, not Good.

So then we have to face the question, as Peter Kreeft put it:

If God is so good, why is his world so bad? If an all-good, all-wise, all-loving, all-just, and all-powerful God is running the show, why does he seem to be doing such a miserable job of it? Why do bad things happen to good people? 

These questions are nothing new. But each of us has to ask them, and search for answers.

I don't plan to answer them here, but to leave you some links that might help if you are struggling with these questions.

But I do want to say a couple of things I believe:

1. A LOT of suffering in the world is directly caused by the sin and selfishness of the human race. We can't blame God for war, for unjust societies, for wealth and poverty living side by side, for broken families, for our own carelessness or selfish misuse of nature that has led to polluted water sources, poisonous air, etc. We can squarely take the blame for that ourselves.

2. As Christians, we believe that suffering and death entered the world when our ancestors chose to turn away from God. The natural harmony that existed was broken, as was the harmony of our relationships (from self-gift to use). God wrote the play, as actors with free will, we changed the plot.

3. That doesn't necessarily mean that God sends natural disasters as a judgment or punishment for sin. Someone passed on a forward yesterday that basically said that 'because of persecution against Christians, God's rage was expressed through his creation by natural calamities'. I was shocked to find that many people believe that natural disasters are sent by God as a judgment or punishment. How can we know that? How can we judge that other people's sins deserve or need an earthly punishment, and ours don't? Or that Haiti or the Philippines somehow deserves natural disasters, but a post-Christian Europe doesn't? That God wills that innocent children should suffer because some people from their region sinned?

4. 'God permits' seems very similar to 'God wills' (or causes, or sends), but they are vastly different, and can completely change the meaning of who God is.

5. There are no easy answers. I hate the glib answers that people give when there are complex questions of deep suffering, without entering into the other person's suffering. 'It is better that way.' 'My thoughts are with you.' 'I'll pray for you.' Without really praying, or taking a moment to really taste (or imagine) what they must be going through, or thinking "IS there some physical way I can alleviate their pain?"* Sometimes we just have to accept that we don't know the answers.

I spent some time researching what the Church teaches about suffering, evil and the reasons for their existence, and I'm going to share a few good articles and  a video:

Are natural disasters truly “acts of God”?

Many people suffer when catastrophes strike, including those who are innocent of serious sin or wrong-doing. Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, uses the Biblical story of Job to show us that suffering is not always sent as a punishment. He explains how Job was afflicted by “innumerable sufferings” and that Job's friends claimed “he must have done something seriously wrong. For suffering—they say—always strikes a man as punishment for a crime; it is sent by the absolutely just God and finds its reason in the order of justice.” 

“In their eyes,” Blessed John Paul says, “suffering can have a meaning only as a punishment for sin, therefore only on the level of God's justice, who repays good with good and evil with evil.” This is the same claim that people make when they claim that all natural disasters are “an act of God.” Blessed John-Paul says that the story of Job demonstrates that this claim is false. He writes, “While it is true that suffering has a meaning as punishment, when it is connected with a fault, it is not true that all suffering is a consequence of a fault and has the nature of a punishment. The figure of the just man Job is a special proof of this in the Old Testament. Revelation, which is the word of God himself, with complete frankness presents the problem of the suffering of an innocent man: suffering without guilt.

Suffering may sometimes be sent by God as punishment for sins, but not always. Regarding why God allowed any particular natural disaster, God's intentions are a mystery, and we should refrain from speaking on behalf of God.

Because of the Fall, nature is no longer perfectly ordered. While there is much good in nature, disasters such as floods, hurricanes and tornados also occur. These events do not come from a direct “act of God,” but rather are the result of the workings of an imperfect natural world. This imperfection does not come from God but from evil. It’s natural then—and right—for men and women to be horrified by the consequences of natural disasters—these are testaments not to the character of God but the character of evil. [Read the rest here.]

The Problem of Evil by Peter Kreeft

A child on the tenth story of a burning building cannot see the firefighters with their safety net on the street. They call up, "Jump! We'll catch you. Trust us." The child objects, "But I can't see you." The firefighter replies, "That's all right. I can see you. We are like that child, evil is like the fire, our ignorance is like the smoke, God is like the firefighter, and Christ is like the safety net. If there are situations like this where we must trust even fallible human beings with our lives, where we must trust what we hear, not what we see, then it is reasonable that we must trust the infallible, all-seeing God when we hear from his word but do not see from our reason or experience. We cannot know all God's reasons, but we can know why we cannot know.[Read the rest here.]

God's Answer to Suffering by Peter Kreeft (This is one of the most moving and poignant articles I have ever read- read it!)

In coming into our world he came also into our suffering. He sits beside us in the stalled car in the snowbank. Sometimes he starts the car for us, but even when he doesn't, he is there. That is the only thing that matters. Who cares about cars and success and miracles and long life when you have God sitting beside you?[Read the rest here.]

Fr. Robert Barron on 'Why is There So Much Disorder in the Universe? ' (video)

Natural disasters - from God or because of us?

But as followers of Jesus we cannot rush to blame victims for the evil visited upon them – nor can we blame God, whom Scripture reveals as all loving and all merciful. That doesn’t mean we will come to an easy understanding of why bad things happen to good people – most times we will have to wait with the patience of a Job to learn the answers to those questions – which God will tell us surely; but not necessarily on this side of heaven. [Read the rest here.]

You Were on the Cross- Matt Maher (Youtube song)

*Like St. James said, "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?"

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

9QT: 9 Things Christian Singles Are Secretly Afraid Of*

It's complicated enough being a single in today's world, where in India everyone thinks if you're 29 you should be married already, and in the West, people think you're crazy (and repressed) if you don't have (and have never had) a boyfriend at the ripe old age of 29.

There are thousands of blog posts and articles trying to figure out the logistics of this whole romantic relationships in the 21st century thing. But if you throw in being Christian AND being single, where our beliefs about God intersect with our desire for a love life, it gets really complicated in our heads. I wrote about some of my thoughts before. And here we have some of our (not-secret-any-longer) fears:

1. That if we are too 'content to be single', God might take us at our word, and decide to leave us that way. Someone actually said that to me once when I said "I'm pretty happy being single.""Noooo!"she shouted, "Don't say that! God will never send you anyone!" We KNOW that's not how God works, but it's a little superstitious fear. Or maybe we think if there are not enough eligible guys going around, then God will choose the girls who are more needy. And since I'm independent and strong, I CAN survive, so I don't get picked.

2. Conversely, that if we are too desperate, God will decide to keep us single for as long as it takes to realize that we will never find the Perfect Love we crave in any human. That 'it's only when we stop caring too much about finding the right guy, suddenly he'll appear in our life.' See me not caring! (Because I really care!) Aarrgh! Catch 22 situation!

3. That although God loves us and wants us to be happy, He's not REALLY in control. Since He doesn't interfere with free will, He doesn't really have control over whether or not there are enough good men to match every good woman looking for a spouse. (Just like it wasn't His WILL that there should be suffering in this world, or evil for that matter... but it still exists.)

4. That we haven't figured out how much of active involvement He really wants us to have with finding the right spouse. Like a quote I recently read- 'Trust God, but tie up your camel.' Are we supposed to get on to Get out there (wherever 'out there' is)? Move somewhere where there are more options? Ask friends to look out for someone for us? Ask our parents to arrange something? Get onto Tinder? Visit your parish's marriage bureau? (I AM TOTALLY KIDDING!!!) Or just live your life and stop obsessing?

Perhaps answer a matrimonial ad?**

5. That Psalm 37: 4, the Singles' Most Favouritest Bible Verse Ever suffers from false advertising- 'Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart' doesn't necessarily mean we're going to get married, but that He will 'purify the desires of our hearts' so that the only desire we have is to do God's will and even suffer for His sake.

6. That the older we get, the more likely we will 'settle', taking the next guy who asks who somewhat fits our 'list' even if he doesn't make our knees weak, and give us butterflies in our stomach, and that we're more likely to be 'realistic', and think "Well, love isn't just about feelings." And perhaps say yes more out of a fear that no one better will come along, than out of a love and desire for THAT particular human being.

7. That's we're being pathetic and whiny when we're sad about not being married, because in the grand scheme of things, how big is our suffering compared to people who lose the use of their limbs, or people who live with constant physical pain, or people who find the love of their life, and then lose them to cancer, or worse, the love of their life hurt them in the worst possible way.

8. That people with all their many know-it-all opinions are actually right- maybe we are too picky. Maybe we didn't discern well enough. Maybe God was calling us to religious life, but we weren't listening. Maybe we're boring and not marriage material. Maybe it's because we're religious. Maybe we're too... something. We must have done SOMETHING wrong.

9. That God DOESN'T really have a plan, that it's all just a numbers game, and that He promised to be WITH us, not arrange our loves so we get exactly what we want, or that His idea of my future happiness is very different from my idea of my future happiness. I guess basically that we are in some way going to be deprived by Him, that He hasn't got our back.

But you know what? I don't really believe any of these (well, except for no. 5). They are little irrational fears that come.. and go. It's good to be content where you are, without shutting your heart to desires for the future. Sometimes God allows people to go through tough situations, for no discernable reason... not even to teach them a lesson. But I DO believe He can bring great good out of those situations.

I am still slightly confused about 4, but I've gone with the 'live my life and stop obsessing' option. I will NOT settle, because I will not marry out of fear, because I DON'T believe that being old, single and living with cats is the most horrible option in the world. I don't think there's anything wrong with acknowledging that sometimes I'm sad, my occasional sadness doesn't disappear just because other people suffer more. I don't care about people's opinions of why I'm single, because I know me better than they do. (And I know I'm pretty awesome. And humble.)

And finally and most importantly, I choose to believe that God does have a plan for my happiness (whether or not it includes marriage) and that no matter what the circumstances, He is not a God of deprivation. And I know this because, hey, I'm 29- I thought I would be married years ago, and yet, and yet, here I am... single... and HAPPY! Say, what? If he could do it for the past 29 years, why not for the next 60***? 

*How do you like my attention grabbing blog post title? :-D
**If you need a good laugh, look on google images for 'funny matrimonial ads'. These are real things, people!
***Yes, I plan to live till I'm 89.