February 9, 2007

Twenty Something / Christina Capecchi

Pop culture lends urgency to romantic quests

My friend Tauna’s New Year’s resolution is to find romance. Last year’s wedding circuit took a toll on her, and now she’s determined to find a mate before 2008.

The year is starting off slow, she acknowledged in her blog, but it’s early yet. Thankfully, there are resources for Tauna, like Janis Spindel’s book, Get Serious About Getting Married: 365 Proven Ways to Find Love in Less Than a Year.

I understand the anxiousness of being unattached. Every time wedding bells ring for a friend, my biological clock ticks a little louder. And when their firstborn cries, the ticking gets louder yet.

I’m a content, confident person, but it’s impossible not to compare my personal life with a friend who’s standing in front of the altar. And it’s hard not to feel a bit behind.

Unlike some of my single friends, I enjoy weddings. I love getting dressed up and dancing and celebrating a happy union. So the “Save the Date” cards accumulating on my fridge don’t depress me. (I’m already planning my outfits.)

There’s just one moment I dread: the bouquet toss. We single ladies are displayed before the entire group. There’s a palpable sense of desperation, the embarrassing notion that we should elbow and claw each other for the coveted prize. I tend to hide in the middle of the pack and lay low when the flowers fly.

Pop culture lends a sense of urgency to the pursuit of a partner. Romance is the endpoint of the romantic comedy. Despite ascending planes or pounding rain or oncoming traffic, our fearless stars always connect before the credits roll.

A bare ring finger can seem like a defect. The single life can feel achingly single. And more Catholics are experiencing that ache as the average age of a bride and groom keeps inching older.

It creates a conundrum for many of us. In waiting on God’s will, are we being passive? In acting on our will, are we defying his?

That’s the issue my friend Emily wrestled when she joined www.catholicsingles.com.

“I was having one of those panicky moments where I could visualize myself as still single, 50 years old, and only buying Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews,” she recalled. “I must have sat for five minutes before hitting the ‘Enter’ button on the registration page, pondering if my act was desperation or if I was simply taking charge of my possibilities.”

I know Emily lifts these questions to the Lord, and I believe that’s important. Pray along the path to marriage—or religious life or single life. Pray for patience and trust.

The first reading for Feb. 14 is fitting for singles struggling with that in-your-face holiday. After 40 long days afloat, Noah sends out a dove. “But the dove could find no place to alight and perch, and it returned to him in the ark.”

Noah is tired and seasick so he tries again. And finally, the dove returns with an olive leaf. Hallelujah!

If you’re feeling tired and seasick from the romantic quest, hang in there. Your dove will find a place to perch—in God’s perfect timing, according to his infinite wisdom. He’s writing a script that’s way better than Steven Spielberg’s. (And the soundtrack rocks!)

The longer it takes, the more ready you’ll be for your mate and the better you’ll fit together.

So go dance the electric slide with crazy Aunt Sue. I’ll see you at the bouquet toss. Meet me in the middle.

(Christina Capecchi is earning her master’s at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. E-mail her at christinacap@gmail.com.) †

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