“Why didn’t Lady Margaret choose Mr. Charles? She obviously loved him!” Anna complained while watching her favorite period drama which was set in the Roaring Twenties.
“She had to consider her family. Mr. Edward had a lot of connections, friends they could trust to come to their aid. and Mr. Thomas was wealthy beyond her dreams, that would afford her a great many options beyond the aid of connections. ” Sarah, her twin sister, explained. “It’s only in recent years are people more likely to marry for love. It wasn’t always an option decades ago.”
That Sunday, Anna and Sarah both attended church, same place and same time. An elderly woman, Evelyn quietly whispered to her closest friend, Irene: “Your grandson Ethan had better stop dragging his feet. Anna over there is brimming with passion and curiosity. Her sister Sarah is brilliant and kind. Tabitha is creative and views the world as her canvas. And finally Michelle is magnetic and positive. Each of them will make an outstanding wife and mother.”
Irene shook her head sadly, “Ethan’s a hard one to figure out. When he was little he had a crush on one of them, and when he was a little older, he had a crush on another. He seems to get along well with Tabitha but I don’t think his heart’s in it yet.”
“The real problem is that Elder Steven hasn’t ever approved of Michelle and hasn’t tried to introduce her to any of the other young men. She’s the one that moved here a few years ago and he wouldn’t know what to say to any young man who asked about her. With Anna and Sarah, Steven could go on for hours talking about how knowledgeable they are about the Scriptures, how skilled they are at managing the young ones, and even how nice that last-minute youth dinner turned out with only a day’s notice. Michelle barely has a testimony with him and so he cannot recommend her to just any young man who asks.” Evelyn mentioned.
Irene sighed, “Do you remember the days when we were young? There were marriages going on almost all the time. Now we’re lucky to see one or two a year. These young children just have no respect for marriage. Doesn’t Ethan know that these young girls are going to be snatched up by others long before he makes his choice?”
“It’s my opinion that Ethan needs a bit of a nudge; and I think that Michelle is the right one for him. Her temperament will balance out his.” Evelyn suggested.
“Perhaps Tabitha’s the better choice, if he has any ambitions in the church, her family connections can only strengthen his position. The two of them would be a force to be reckoned with.” Irene mentioned.
Irene and Evelyn seemed to have variations of the same conversation every few weeks, each time siding with a different girl as the ideal wife for Ethan for different reasons. In their minds they could picture Ethan waiting at the altar and watching his veiled bride slowly march up the aisle as well as the point in which the veil is removed and the bride is revealed. They had both already planned Ethan’s marriages to each of the four girls dozens of times over. Not once did they ever consider the possibility that Ethan never really did fall in love with any of them.
Ethan sat there in church, vaguely aware of the sermon the pastor was preaching. If there was ever a day he felt like a character on a t.v. show, this was it. He noticed his grandmother and her co-conspirator whispering to themselves looking in the general direction of his youth group – of which he was the only guy. He had been trying to figure out how to break the news that church was empty and he wouldn’t show up next Sunday or the Sunday after that or the Sunday after that. Perhaps he’d just let action speak louder than words. He couldn’t quite name it, but he could feel this invisible pressure bearing down on him. As if he was the main character and everyone was watching him and talking about him in some way, shape, or form. Even during the meet-and-greet time, every snippet of conversation seemed to be about him:
“… she thinks he’s going to ask her …”
” … he’s ready now more than ever before to take the next step …”
“… his futures on the line and he’s going to go for it …”
” … she’s doing better, I think that it’s the hope that’s doing her a world of good …”
“… he’d never let me down and he’s not about to start now …”
Ethan just couldn’t image it though, that somehow the God of the universe who threw out the stars to distances so large the human mind couldn’t fathom it somehow planned out his life in excruciating detail. Scene by scene, act by act – every word he ever said pre-planned as if it were a line in an actor’s script. This God decided long before he was born the day that he would marry, who he would marry, how many kids he would have, what tragedies would unfold and all the minutiae of life. That God would do everything in his power to see to it that Ethan followed the script and marry some girl. If this were a t.v. show, it would have to be the worst one ever – something nobody would watch – let alone buy. But all he really wanted was a sense of peace, something he couldn’t find here.