This post was originally published in 2008. Minor changes have been made.
A couple of weeks ago, my younger sister (younger by six and a half years) got married in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. Since that day, I cannot count the number of times that I have been asked, “So, how does it feel to have your younger sister get married before you?”
This was always asked with the implied and sometimes even said notion, “After all, you are a 25-year-old returned missionary who doesn’t even have a boyfriend…”
Instead of pointing out how rude and inappropriate that question is and how they should mind their own business (as I would like to say), I graciously put a smile on my face and reply honestly that I am very happy for my little sister.
Yes, I will admit that for a brief moment at the beginning of their engagement, I suffered from what my friend and I call a “Valancy Day.” (This is a literary reference to my favorite L. M. Montgomery book, The Blue Castle. For those of you who don’t know, L. M. Montgomery is the famed author of the Anne of Green Gables Series.)
“One does not sleep well, sometimes, when one is twenty-nine on the morrow, and unmarried, in a community and connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man…Ay, there lay the sting. Valancy did not mind so much being an old maid… What hurt her was that she had never had a chance to be anything but an old maid. No man had ever desired her.” – Excerpt from Chapter One of The Blue Castle, L. M. Montgomery
However, like Valancy, I quickly pulled myself up and out of that blue mood I was in by focusing on what God has given me, not on what He has yet to give me.
Yes, a big part of me wishes that I had been able to get married years ago when I was younger. A part of me wishes that I already had children of my own. Yet I am so grateful for the blessing of being able to have served a full-time mission and to have received an amazing education, and that I have the current opportunity to serve as an ordinance worker in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple—all of which would have been either difficult or impossible to do if I had married and started having children years ago.
As Alma stated in the Book of Mormon,
“But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.” – Alma 29:3-4
As for my sister, I was telling the truth when I said that I am happy for her. My younger sister is an amazing young woman, and I love her very much. How could I not then be happy that she has found an equally amazing young man to spend the eternities with?