Ministering Angels

"They neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those what are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Where have all the cowboys gone?

By Sarita

I know, I know, it's pathetic that I have fallen to such a cliche-ey cheesy song to describe my angst. But it's how I feel at the moment, so run with me on this one.

While making a very concerted effort to be uber productive today, resulting in reading a bunch of random blogs, I recalled something that was said to me circa April 2004-ish. I was living in my hometown in the good old Nevadan desert and speaking to my bishop about my decision to move to Utah for a time. Now, my explanation for leaving had everything to do with education and independence and getting out of the rut that returning from a mission had thrown me into (and I fully embraced for that matter). Bishop's response was the following:

"You know Sarah, I remember my father telling me something when I was a young man.....
'Boy ( because that is what he called me) Boy, if you're going to shoot a deer, don't go to the desert, go to the mountains'."

"I'm glad your leaving the desert sister, because you'll find a lot more deer in those mountains."

Now, let's first address the issue that I wasn't moving to fill my dance card. And I wasn't some caging girl in date desperation either. Yes, I was a little frustrated with the 'menu' items where I was, but my motivation for moving had nothing to do with the 'game' to be had on the other side. In fact just the opposite. While I have progressed in recent years, the idea of dating anyone terrified me at the time.

Secondly, though I find the analogy slightly amusing, it saddens me to have the whole dating process reduced to a quest after......meat.

So back to the cowboys....yes, they may herd cattle, but I think that's as far as the involvement with livestock should go. All I want is a good old fashioned cowboy who does not like country music, can rough it and yet appreciate my quirky obsessions dealing with a wide range of intellectual stuff. Yes, stuff that is intellectual. And big words. Even if I do use them out of context. Big whoop.

And the mere suggestion that I want a cowboy who acts slightly older than 14 and has interests expanding past that of video games should have you feeling my forehead...and it must be hot, not because of my undeniable good looks that I may or may not possess (it's up for debate) but because I grew up in a hick town that succeeded in swearing me off of anything that slightly resembled a cowboy for the remainder of my life.

So today I was speaking to one of my patients ( I shouldn't say 'my' as my work is nothing clinical in nature, but they are after all patients) who had a baby 6 weeks ago. While I held her baby she questioned why I didn't have any of my own. I explained that there was something or someone that needed to come first and she started laying into me about how I can't just go for the "guapo" ones, because it's more important that they are good than guapo. Like I never hear this. And why does everyone think that this is my problem. #1 my dating 'pool' is very shallow and not very crowded. #2 Either it's there or it isn't. Yes, I can stick it out casually to see if something develops eventually, but I'm not going to pursue it if there is nothing there. Even if he is a Steston man.

Color me frustrated. And yes, I am fully aware that it just might be entirely my own fault.



at 10/13/2005 10:52 PM Anonymous Dallas Robbins said...

Your post got me thinking about my own situation. Even though I am of the opposite sex, I can sympathize with your struggle. After relenting to a blind date last week, things seem almost hopeless, but strangely hopeful - I put faith in the idea that it's always darkest before the dawn. (geez, the cliche almost makes me nauseous).

at 10/14/2005 9:35 AM Anonymous Robin said...

I hate dating in the church. Not that I've done much of it, which of course is the problem: when I leave it up to the men in my ward, I just end up feeling like a loser and a reject. And for the record, I have two degrees, I have a very good job, I'm a Relief Society teacher, and I work out four times a week. So I tried dating outside the church. It was an interesting experience, because like many another frustrated LDS woman, I found that I was actually a hot commodity. I don't understand what my non-member friends say about there being no single men around. They're all over the place. I felt attractive and desirable for the first time since I hit adolescence and youth dances. I also found that things tended to fall apart, not necessarily for the reason you might think (although that did play a role occasionally) but because for better or worse being Mormon is a big enough part of who I am that I want someone who shares that.

So I am frustrated. Last year I ended up in Salt Lake with a day to spare, so I went down to Provo and eavesdropped on part of the women's conference that was going on there. I went to a panel on being single in the church. One of the panelists was in her early twenties, who was distressed because she hadn't gotten into BYU and ended up at UVSC. (I'm not making light of this. I'm sure it was a huge disappointment for her, and I willnot belittle that.) One was a thirty-something woman who kept making five-year plans for her life that include getting married. She's now on her fourth five-year plan, and is very unhappy about it.

The third speaker spends her winters teaching at some elite private school in Manhattan and her summers travelling round the world. She started out by saying she had initially turned down the invitation to speak because she found it so offensive: the title the invitation suggested for the panel discussion was "Keeping up when you've been left behind." It gets better; there was a similar discussion for older singles called "A life without opportunity."

"You want a panel of losers," she told the organizers, "and I am not a loser."

Well, the title was changed, and she came (obviously). I wasn't taking notes, but I do remember her saying she had decided to live her life as if she was never going to get married, that she was not going to make an empty hole the focal point of her life, but that if she does get married, think of what a great wife and mother she'll make with all the experiences she's had.

I think it's a great attitude -- advice from the General Authorities to "yearn for it, pray for it" notwithstanding -- but my question is, how do you get there? Saying something is one thing. Actually feeling that way is another. Any suggestions, anyone?

at 10/14/2005 11:45 AM Blogger Sarita said...

Amen to that.Yes I get frustrated sometimes but generally, I'm okay with my current state. The fact that I work with pregnant women all day does remind me of the tick tick of a certain clock, but otherwise, okay making plans to further my education, ambitions, etc.

It's the pressure that gets to me. I would like to casually date, socialize...without both parties, their ward, parents, siblings, and dog feeling like eternal salvation depends on if it works out or not. It's enough to make a girl run away at the first sign of interest. (Which I may have the inclination to do still, but am a grownup, and get past it. I swear.)

at 10/14/2005 2:06 PM Anonymous Robin said...

Oh, my clock has already tocked.

Well, not really, but I'm at the age where risks are higher. I've heard they can bring a special spirit into the home, but I don't really want a Downs baby. If I have children, either biological or adopted, I want them physically and mentally healthy, and if that's a failing in me, so be it.

Actually, I'm quite happy with my life as well. I've said before, I don't really have a problem being single, I have a problem with the stigma of being single. Or as Sarita puts it, with certain pressures.

In the meantime, I'm planning a responsibility-free trip to Italy.

at 10/15/2005 10:27 PM Anonymous REW said...

Robin, I hear you. I just can't imagine the trials raising a Downs Syndrome impaired person would entail. I'm not sure I know my limits, but I imagine it could darn near kill me, from the trials, stigmas, and additional efforts it would take. Raising "normal" (is there such a thing?) children would be tough enough. And I'm getting old enough that the women I date in a few years may be getting into that higher risk age range.

As for a "more on topic" comment, as a guy, I see a somewhat different world, yet somehow the same. I'm an RM, a BYU grad, own a home, no physical abnormalities (does the Quasimodo hunchback count?... kidding!), and have a pretty good career, yet one of the demographics I'm most popular with are the unattractive divorcees with kids (apologies to any reader who thinks she falls into this category). I've tried dating long enough to "get over" major issues (whatever they may be in any particular instance), only to find that my issues get worse. I'm intrigued by Robin's comments about being a "hot commodity" when dating outside the church; would the same thing be true if we were talking outside of Utah (I'm being a bit presumptive in assuming that she is inside Utah, am I not?)? I've been told that if I were outside of Utah I'd be snapped up quickly. I wonder how much of that is true and how much of it is married people confusing "great single person" with "a person everyone would want to date because the person is so great." Hey, how do we transition from one to the other?!?! :)

at 10/17/2005 11:07 AM Anonymous Robin said...

REW -- I live on the east coast. I went to BYU, but that's the extent of the time I've lived in Utah.

at 10/17/2005 12:17 PM Blogger Sarita said...

So I was talking with my grandfather on saturday who always is a wealth of knowledge. (Such as advising me that if I turn down a perfectly good date than I'm cut out of the will. No stainless steel for me.) After inquiring after my "social" life (he meant dating) he piped up with, "Well, dear you know the older you get the more fussy you are. That's only natural. And then when you hit your later thirty's...that's when the desperation kicks in. But that's not something we need to worry about.

But then again, he's the type that you can take pressure from without feeling pressured.

I'm not sure how hot a commodity I would be. Then again, I seem to get plenty of attention from older men. If only I were to foster that attention.....

at 10/17/2005 6:04 PM Anonymous Wes said...

Robin, you talk about relationships with nonmembers breaking up "but not necessarily for the reason you might think." What reason is that?

at 10/17/2005 6:08 PM Anonymous Robin said...


at 10/17/2005 6:12 PM Anonymous Wes said...

Sorry. Should have figured.

In my cse, women tend to think I'm not serious enough, or that I don't make enough money, or that I will never make enough money. I'm a musician, trying to do it professionally, so I do a lot of day jobs and temp jobs in between to pay the bills -- I feel like people wnt to be supported rather than supportive.

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