Posted by: Miss Jones | October 26, 2011

The Future is as Bright as our Faith

Hey readers, I’m back.  Again.  I don’t have any good excuses.  I can’t seem to keep up with my own personal blog, let alone an extra one and I guess I just got busy and completely neglected this one.  But today I looked at the stats for this blog…and they show me that a lot of people still stop by and read, even though I’ve been MIA for over 10 months!  Also, many people have written comments and have sent me messages…asking me where I’ve been (and no, unfortunately, I didn’t get married but fortunately I wasn’t eaten by wild dogs) and if I’m coming back.  So here I am…I’m back.  I’d love to promise that I’m going to be regular and faithful with writing, but I’ve failed enough times at that attempt to dare promise anything again.  But, for the time being, I’m here, and I thank you for your comments.  Your comments are what feed me…what keep me going…and what help me know that the time I spend writing is worth it and is, at least for the most part, appreciated.  So thank you to those who comment.

Since I last wrote I’ve been traveling a lot…to Ecuador, Brazil, and India to be exact.  I had a fantastic time in all three countries.  I love traveling.  It gives me new perspective on life.  It helps me develop gratitude for all the many blessings I have.  It helps me learn and makes me feel more well-rounded.  I love meeting new people…both people with very different beliefs and backgrounds from mine, as well as other LDS people.  I especially love meeting other LDS singles.  I love that I can talk to someone with a very different culture and background (and often language) than myself, and yet we can have so much in common and have an instant bond because of our religion and marital status.  I think that’s one of the reasons I like writing on this blog…and reading your comments.  I love feeling like I’m not alone in this struggle.  I love knowing that people I don’t even know are going through some of the same things I’m going through and are feeling some of the same things I’m feeling.

Also, since last writing, I turned 32.  So scary.  A little over three years ago my parents moved out of the country.  I knew they’d be living abroad for three years.  I was 28, almost 29 when they moved…and I knew I’d be 31, almost 32 when they returned.  I remember thinking when they left how I’d be soooooo old when they got back.  And how I thought I should for sure be married by the time they got back…and if I wasn’t, I’d surely sink into a pit of despair because any hope for my future life as a wife and mother would be lost.  I guess that was a pretty dramatic thought.  Because I turned 32 a couple months ago and I’m not in the depths of despair about it.  Sure, every passing year I’m less likely to ever have children…I’m a little less hopeful that I’ll ever be married…that I’ll ever fit in…that I’ll ever feel, or be “normal.”  In fact, I realized the other day that now that I’ve gotten soooooo old and am still not married that I’ll never really fit in anyway…because even if I got married this second and started making babies immediately, I’d still not fit in.  I’d still be that person in the ward who “got married a little later in life.”  I’d be having my first baby in my early thirties when most the other women having first babies would be in their early twenties.  So I think, at least in the Mormon world, I’ll never be “normal.”  But maybe that’s okay…maybe “normal” is overrated anyway.  I like to think it is.

So I didn’t end up in a state of irreversible despair upon turning 32.  Instead I find myself pushing along…one step at a time…even though the path I’m on is still a foggy mess. And, every year that passes I learn…I learn more about patience, and faith, and endurance…and more about myself.  And every year that passes I have to pat myself on the back…for still being faithful, for being active in The Church, and for not giving up…even when I don’t feel like I always fit in at church…even when I sometimes feel lost and alone and confused about life.  Each year that passes gets me one year closer to successfully enduring to the end.  And I’m not saying that I’ve given up any hope for a family in this life and am just hunkered down in a state of endurance…that’s not how it is for me.   I’m pushing forward and trying to not let my challenges become obstacles that stop me on my path or get me lost and way off course, but sometimes it is nice to look back and see that you’ve made it as far as you have.

I feel like the past couple of years, when it comes to the prospect of marriage and kids, I spend most of my time bouncing back and forth between hope and apathy…with the occasional moment of despair mixed in.  Sometimes I remain in a state of hope for only a moment and other times I last for a few days, weeks, or even (occasionally) months.  I think hope and apathy are what keep me from wallowing too long in a state of despair.  Of course a hopeful outlook is the best outlook, but I feel that sometimes apathy is a healthy response too…it’s a survival response.  Because sometimes it’s easier and safer to just not care than it is to fall into complete despair when I just don’t have the endurance to stay in a perpetual state of hope. This bouncing back and forth between apathy and hope is not a conscious thing…it just happens.  I might hear a really uplifting talk, or have someone tell me they want to set me up with some awesome guy who is “just perfect for you,” or make a positive change in my life that makes me happier and more confident, and all of a sudden I am hopeful that I’ll marry, not someday, but soon.  Then, sadly, my date with Mr. Perfect  turns out to not be with my Mr. Perfect, or people bother me about not being married, and I become apathetic again…because it’s easier just not to care than to get hurt over and over again.  But then something good comes up and hope is right back there…like a light that just can’t and won’t be completely extinguished, even if I sometimes wish it could be.  This bouncing back and forth between apathy and hope is, I think, what keeps me somewhat sane and happy.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the pioneers.  I guess the 24th of July or recent Martin’s Cove trek craze or something has had me thinking about the people who made the real trek.  The thought came to me that there were many people who attempted to cross the plains who never made it to the promised land.  But in the eyes of God they are no different than those who made it all the way.  Because every person who took that first step of faith across the frozen Mississippi and who kept taking those footsteps of faith as long as they could, were faithful pioneers…because they were moving forward…they were doing what they had been asked to do…they had their eyes on the promised land.  And those who died along the way were as faithful and will be as rewarded as those who actually stepped foot into the Salt Lake Valley.  It was as if they made it all the way there because they made the decision to go…to head towards that promised land…and they didn’t give up…even when things were more difficult than they had planned for, or thought things would be.  They kept moving forward as far as they could.  And that was all that mattered.  The path was the same for everyone, but the outcomes of the journey were different.  Some made it all the way without any major loss or problems…others lost loved ones, health, or even their own lives.  But each person with their eye on the goal and their hearts set on reaching the promised land will be equally blessed in the end.

And that’s all that matters with us too…that we keep moving forward.  Even though we don’t know how far away our “promised land” will be…even if we don’t know what to expect when we get there or if we will ever, in this life, reach that destination.  I’m not sure why some journeys are longer or more difficult or more confusing than others.  I don’t know why some people find their “soul-mate” in high school and others have to wait years to, or never do.  I don’t know why some have the desires of their hearts filled immediately and others of us have to wait.  Of course I want to reach the modern Mormon “promised land” of marriage and family…of course none of us want to be the ones to not make it, or the ones who get delayed on the path and are late arriving.  But we aren’t in control of everything…or maybe anything…anything but our attitude and the actions that move us forward.

Sometimes I feel really alone.  My experience in life is very different from most of the people around me.  And sometimes it’s easy to feel like there isn’t another person on earth who gets what I’m going through.  But I can’t give up.  I can’t give in. I cannot get discouraged and become faithless.  I need to just keep moving forward, one step at a time, towards the promised land, and so do you.  And if we don’t make it to that modern Mormon “promised land” in this life…well then so be it.  The point is to just keep moving forward…because “the future is as bright as [our] faith.”

So hang in there…and so will I.  In fact, don’t just hang in there, enjoy yourselves.  Travel, learn new skills, serve, do something that challenges you, work on making yourself a better person, and don’t worry about the rest…don’t worry about what you can’t change, but do worry about (and do something about) what you can.  And be happy now…don’t wait for some event to make you happy…happiness is not some goal to be reached or destination…it’s a way of life!

Miss Jones

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Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I needed it today.

  2. As always I enjoyed your post! It helps me to know that I am not the only one that feels really alone sometimes, even when I am surrounded by family or friends. In my heart I am learning to accept the feelings of alone-ness and being comfortable with myself alone, and choosing to look for the blessings I am surrounded with, because they are so easily forgotten in loneliness. Something my heart is beginning to understand is that marriage is part of the Promised Land but it is not The Promised Land. As we do the things that bring us happiness, learning new skills, traveling, coming closer to Christ we are reaching our promised land. And someday when the time is right the Lord will give us someone to join us on our path to the promised land or in the promised land. This knowledge has helped me to grab onto a little bit of understanding of the eternal promises that the Lord has for us and remember that marriage is not the end, just part of the journey. It does not dictate my happiness just adds to it. In the same way it prepares me for those times when marriage is difficult and not “frolicking through the fields” that it will not dictate my happiness. I will dictate my happiness just as you said, it will be my way of life!

  3. Thanks for this post! I just turned 33 and I too vacillate between hope and apathy. And I don’t even know if apathy is quite the right term. It is more like a feeling that even though I want marriage and family, I’m really quite okay with being single in this moment or week or month. I’m able to see the good things about my life and not fixate so much on the not-so-good things. Maybe that is acceptance? Who knows. But it is nice to know that there are others who struggle through the same cycle with its moments of despair as well.

  4. In this Salt Lake Tribune article (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/51673478-82/lds-women-initiative-males.html.csp) it reads:

    “So [single LDS males] do the only thing they can do: suffer in quiet desperation, and possibly seek refuge elsewhere. For many, that means leaving the Mormon Church, which compounds the imbalanced gender ratios among LDS singles and leads to even harsher vitriol against those men who stay.”

    I’ve seen statistics on the male/female ratio amongst active LDS singles and it’s quite shocking how few males there are left for the girls getting into their 30s. Christian churches in general have always had more females than males, because females are generally more religious than males. Just take a look at this BYU study:

    http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/latter-day-saint-social-life-social-research-lds-church-and-its-members/10-religiosity-morm

    Notice how far more women claim to be strong Latter-day Saints than men? This isn’t just lip service. If you read on you’ll see they are more abundant in nearly every virtue. Either LDS women are just more prone to thinking more highly of themselves than men or they really are more righteous. I tend to believe the latter. If such is the case, then why would God require marriage for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom and then not provide a way for his righteous daughters to enter into such unions? Was Nephi wrong when he said, “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them?”

    • You have forgotten that agency thing. There would be righteous men for the righteous women to marry IF the men chose to continue going to church no matter what, chose to continue living the gospel, and chose to believe that the Prophets and Apostles are correct when they say to “find someone you’re compatible with and have faith.”

      When you break it down, it all comes back to the choices we make individually and those choices have consequences that affect ourselves and others. It is incredibly easy to forget that when we choose to do something, like NOT remain faithful to covenants, that choice affects someone else in ways we cannot predict and often cannot see.

      I’m 31 and single with no prospects of a date let alone marriage. But I continue to go to church, the temple, activities, gain further education, etc. because I know that my testimony and my choices draw me closer to my Heavenly Father and to those blessings He has promised me. Salvation is individual regardless of marital status. If I don’t have a good relationship with my Heavenly Father, I would never be able to have a good relationship with a husband or children. I would like to get married but if there is no one out there who is interested in me AND interested in keeping his personal covenants, than I haven’t lost anything. The single LDS men who are inactive are the ones who should be pitied for the loss of blessings because of the choices they are making.

      • Emily, I admire your resolve not to settle for a lesser man just to get married (that generally doesn’t work in the long run anyhow). You are correct, the men who aren’t getting their act together are robbing themselves and others of blessings. I’m of the opinion that men as a group are inherently more spiritually broken than women. Probably only a small percentage of these men are fixable. I’d bet if you fixed all the men who could be fixed, you’d still be left with a large male/female ratio gap. So where does that leave the righteous females? Your statement, “Salvation is individual regardless of marital status” may be true, but marriage is required for exaltation.

        “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.”
        (D&C 121:1-3)

        I tend to believe this scripture applies to both men and women, although since it doesn’t mention women specifically, maybe it implies that there are some nuns in the Celestial Kingdom.

    • Yes marriage is important for exaltation. This is fundamental to God’s plan of happiness! Over and over in the church we are taught that the greatest happiness comes from the unity of a husband and wife rearing children in the Gospel. In a book I recently started reading written by Elder Scott called “Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy, he stated: ” For the greatest happiness and productivity in life, both husband and wife are needed. Through sacred temple ordinances and subsequent faithfulness they are bound together as one whole, eternally. That is the plan.”

      He then goes onto say, “I know that I write of the ideal, and you may be disturbed because your life may not now fit that mold. I promise you that through your obedience and continuing faith in Jesus Christ-along with your understanding of the whole plan of happiness, even if important parts of the plan aren’t fulfilled in your life now-a fullness of blessings will be yours in the Lord’s due time. I also promise you that you can have significant growth and happiness now. As a daughter or son of God, live whatever portion of the plan is available to you the best you can. ”

      “Your desire to be a wife and mother may not have its total fulfillment now, but it will in His time as you live in faith and obedience to merit it. Don’t be lured away from the plan of our God to the ways of the world where motherhood is belittled, femininity is decried, and the divinely established roles of wife and mother are mocked. Let the world go its way. You follow the plan of the Lord for the greatest measure of true, eternal achievement and the fullest peace and happiness. The current lack of blessings for which you qualify will be fully compensated in this life or in the next.”

      “Live righteously. Make much of your life here on earth, and you will find the companion of your dreams here or beyond the veil, where the potential companions will not be limited to this moment in time or your physical location. Joseph Fielding Smith taught:’You good sisters, who are single and alone, do not fear…. If in your hearts you feel that the gospel is true, and would under proper conditions receive [the] sealing blessings in the temple…; and that does not come yo you now; the Lord will make it up,… for no blessing shall be withheld.”

      I do not believe that there will be nuns in heaven! All his daughters as they choose to live righteously and follow God’s plan according to the circumstances they have been given will be blessed with all the promises God has given us. We will receive exaltation and be blessed to be a part of a union of marriage as Heavenly Father intends for all his faithful followers. Those are eternal promises not limited to just this short lifetime. And an Apostle of God has witnessed the same! I will do all I can to receive those promised blessings now. Asking the Lord for the opportunity, following inspiration, putting myself in places,if I am able, where an opportunity could arise, and I will trust in his will, in his eternal plan.

      • I’m curious, do you believe in the concept of soul mates?

      • No, I do not believe in soul mates in the sense that there is a one and only out there for me. I believe there are many worthy individuals that I may choose as an eternal companion. When I make my choice and they also choose me then they will become soul mates because we chose one another forever.

  5. Is it not possible that “all is not well in Zion” means that the Lord is actually NOT pleased with many members of the church– including the leadership? Is it against the law to live the United Order, for instance? The D&C is full of instructions the church does not live by today.

    The future is bright for those who put their faith in things that truly will not fail them. All may not be well in Zion, but the Lord is bound to be still finding someone to get things ready for the coming of Zion and its laws after the present Gentile nations collapse as promised.

  6. I hope you continue to update your blog. You are funny/real and a lot of people who can relate to you. We are all on the same boat.

  7. Hi!

    Just came across this blog in my evening of perusing.
    I would like to say Miss Jones that for being away for so long you didn’t hold back the typing :)
    From a sooooo reaaaaly old single brother in the church that has (as yet) found an eternal companion, I can truly relate to the internal struggles between hope, faith, apathy and despair. Sometimes all in an hour, day or week. It is not easy for the single brethren in the church as we are not sociably in tune with the workings of a ward. I’ve been asked on several occasions recently as to why I am still in the church? The only answer that I have is that despite all that is happening around us, the church remains the only truth standing. Some of the principles (that I have bothered to pursue) have proven true and I have benefited from them. But its tough when you see some “rewards” right away and others never materialize when “we” want them too.

    I just had to smile when I read you post, you are bang on!

    G

  8. While I was reading this I kept thinking, umm, how does this person know so much about me? I too just turned 32, wonder if I will ever be “normal” and struggle with hope, despair, and apathy. It’s like you read my mind and wrote exactly what I would write, if I was any good at writing! :)

  9. I, too, was wondering how you knew so much of what I am feeling.

  10. Hi, I HAVE to leave a comment. I’m 36, female, and not married. Sometimes I feel guilty,sometimes I realize that I might not be able to physically have kids in this life. Well, I think you pretty much covered a lot of the angst we feel. This is my challenge right now, but I’m beginning to realize that nothing ever extinguishes my hope, even though it would seem realistic. I’m a romance writer! How can I not believe in love? I’m an optimist, but even I felt crushed when I thought life was over at thirty. No guys, it’s thirty and flirty! Life is not over!
    But when I ‘graduated’ ‘failed” or whatever it’s called from the single’s ward, I went to a family ward that was a little different than other family wards. It was actually a great thing to happen to me. It is FILLED with women from all paths of life–old ladies who have NEVER been married, lots of widows, divorcees, and yes, some married couples too–though some who can’t have children. Many of them are taking ‘getting ready for death” classes. I really don’t feel old anymore. I don’t know, but everyone was so different that I really wasn’t ‘the different one’ anymore and I don’t think I ever was (even though I thought I was). Not ever.
    I’m not alone at all. These women have been single for years, but I never heard about them, which just goes to show that when we teach whoever we have influence over in this life–we teach them that happiness comes in so many ways. Fulfilling God’s plan is different for all of us. Yes, eternal marriage is a good and a worthy goal, but there are so many ways to have a good and fulfilling life too. So if it doesn’t happen right away (or ever), well, we can still reach the end of the race and look back at our life and smile and think, “well done.”
    Not only that, but life didn’t end–it hasn’t ended for me. I still date. I still reject men. They still reject me. I run after crazy career opportunities and love it. No, I’m not a mother, but even people who are married can’t have kids. And look at all the opportunities I have to mother? I have 36 nieces and nephews (and that number is growing). I live in Salt Lake, and my nieces come to BYU and I get to have slumber parties with them and go shopping or just talk about deep subjects that they would never talk about with their mothers–aunts have that special privilege.
    I was even made the Young Women’s president in my ward, and I love hanging out with those girls. My counselors are both single too; we’re trying to find someone who is married to be our secretary just so the girls can have that example for them too because we know marriage is important and hope for it for ourselves.
    Another single friend of mine who just turned 32 was made the relief society president of her ward (and she makes all the older ladies set her up–they LOVE her by the way). Two other guys in my ward council are mid-single men. Yes, we are needed!
    So yeah, I looked at the trials of the people in my ward and I realized–wow! I am so glad I didn’t go through an abusive relationship and had to escape in the dead of night to get away from my husband. Or I’m glad that I don’t have a cruel teenage kid like that…or whatever. I know some married friends who feel more alone than I will ever feel. And even for those with less dramatic ‘married’ challenges, marriage isn’t a complete picnic–nor is it walking into the setting sun or the perfect end of a fairy tale. Sometimes, couples get bored and feel under-appreciated or feel life has passed them by. That’s just a challenge that they face. But do you know that’s what I get a lot? Jealousy that I’m single. It’s crazy, but true. So I think anyone can get mad about whatever lot they have in life. Everyone can get down and think others have it better.
    I don’t really have it that bad. Some married couples think I can’t really be truly happy or think it’s my choice that I’m single, but most of them who know me, know I’m really a nice person–who has struggles like they do, I’m happy, and I’m trying to live life the best that I can; they just shrug and go on with their own lives. And if they don’t, I do–though really, no one really cares that much about your ‘struggles’ as much as you do, I’ve come to realize. My family–most of them who got married young–after a few years of not understanding–got over it. Not only did they get over it, they now appreciate what I can do for their families. I offer a different perspective.
    Anyway, I was just doing research for my latest book; it’s about some cynics who write blogs about the dating predators in their lives (not that this is a cynical blog), but I just ran across this and thought–my goodness, right now in Salt Lake I am SURROUNDED by mid-singles. SURROUNDED. Sometimes I think there are more of us than there are married people, haha. But I REMEMBER what it was like to feel alone…when I was around 32, I think–it was that switch from a singles’ ward to the family wards, and let me tell you, you’re not alone. There’s a place for you. You are of worth. You will not be thrown away–so don’t let yourself be thrown away. Life is not ending. There will be love. There will be excitement. There will be magic. Sometimes I think I’m single just so I can spread that message. I told you that I’m a romantic.
    Still, sometimes I walk through Memory Grove and see all the new Old couples and think, huh? I hope I don’t get so set in my ways that I don’t think I’ll need a partner after it’s too late to have kids, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. So many bridges to cross, huh?
    Thanks for the insights and the novel research.

  11. Dear Miss Jones,

    Although we’ve never met, I think you are an amazing person. You have inspired me ever since I read your candy drawer story–I’ve been a fan of yours for a few years now! I want to wish you all the best. Thank you for being so faithful and diligent, even when it’s been hard. You are incredible–may the Lord bless you.

  12. Hi… I love your blog. Please keep updating. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! You are great!

  13. I really hope that marriage and the bearing of children will come in the next life. I’m in my 50s and am sweating through menopause and I am childless. If you really wanted to you could get married. I did and it was the wrong man. That’s worse than not marrying at all. I have a lot of respect for women who won’t settle for any man the way I did.

  14. I just stumbled upon your blog, and what you wrote way back in October was exactly what I needed to hear today in March. Thank you so much for writing what you did.

    And by the way, I just know you will meet someone amazing. Your post says a lot about you and the kind of genuine, wonderful person you are. He will come :)

  15. I needed this tonight, I am young and just barely at dating age…and for some reason, no guy has asked me out.ever….not one. I know it seems like such a small thing, but every time my friends talk to me about all their fun adventures dating, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry….it honestly has been and will probably continue to be a trial for me throughout my high school years, but your faith inspires me to trust in the lord, i know that he had a plan for me, this just must be part of it. Thank you for your testimony and good luck with your future endeavors:)

  16. I love this!!! :D I’m going to share on this page on Facebook! Follow if you have a Facebook fan page and i will be sure to share this and your Facebook page! Have a great day!!!! thanks for this awesome post!

    https://www.facebook.com/LauraMargosian?ref=hl

  17. Thank you thank you thank you. Tonight as I have a heavy heart I read your words and know I am in good company. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Thank you so much for saying things so well, you inspire me to keep going, I am 44..I especially appreciate the anology about the pioneers and seeing the promised land. I had a hard time w/being single when I turned 30, then this year has been especially rough and painful. Thank you for sharing uplifting words!


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