When I transferred from BYU to a Midwestern university, I enrolled in Institute. I was 22 at the time, and was returning to church activity after a horrific engagement to a boy who did not share my faith (and was an all-around awful person). I loved the Institute teacher, and I always felt like he “got me” in a way my religion professors at BYU did not.
Three years later, I returned from my mission, and a boy who I thought had waited for me broke my heart in rather devastating fashion. When Institute classes started, and that same teacher asked me questions about my mission and how I was adjusting, I told him about the boy and my fear that I would never get married.
My teacher said, “Maybe being single is going to be your Abrahamic trial.”
I wanted to punch him.
That was 13 years ago, and apparently, that Institute teacher was somewhat clairvoyant.
But I think of his analogy every so often, especially when I do things that I consider sacrifices. Trying online dating: an offering. Going to a single adult conference, where I am the youngest person in attendance by at least 25 years: an offering. Continual church attendance despite feeling like a complete freak: an offering.
Offering after offering on the Altar of Please-Don't-Let-Me-Die-Alone.
Last weekend, I attended one of those single adult conferences. I could only make it to parts of it, and really didn't have a chance to mingle much, but I went. And in the opening prayer of one of the speaker events, the pray-er asked that we would be blessed for our faith in attending.
I was so touched by that idea—that by going to the conference, by myself, knowing not a single soul could even be considered an act of faith.
I enjoyed the speakers (Barbara Thompson was one of them) and the one workshop I was able to attend before I had to leave for another obligation. I didn't see anyone close to my age. And yes, I know I probably shouldn't be age-ist, but I'm just not ready to date men closer to my father's age than mine.
I did not have enough faith to attend the dance.
But I laid down an offering just the same.