One of the things I do occasionally in my spare time is read up on the recent threads on the PCNAK youth website’s discussion board. Interestingly enough, someone started up this topic of youth moving to different states (for college perhaps) so that they can live closer to their boyfriend or girlfriend, thus making it easier for the two of them to see each other more often. And sometimes these arrangements work out and the two eventually get married. Or the two figure out that they’re not compatible and call off the relationship. And sometimes, it blows up in their faces and something goes terribly wrong. That initial post was followed by a bunch of people telling others to mind their own business and “God is my judge” and “this is sin!” and removing planks from each other’s eyes, etc.

However, the last couple posts by two girls have been interesting and they resonate with my own experience to some degree. The first of these is a twenty-seven year old girl that makes the point that even though everyone keeps saying that dating and trying to be closer to the person you’re attracted to is wrong, the fact is that most of the people who followed the so-called “wrong path” are seemingly much better off today (married and moved on in life). And there she is, twenty-seven years old, with a good job and still single, and the prospect pool closing in on her with every passing moment. The second girl is nearly thirty and makes the same general point. Whatever happened to “beauty is on the inside” and “God has someone special waiting for you” when all the supposedly “bad” girls who wore make-up and trendy clothes and dated around end up with the best guys.

The way I see it, this is a real problem, not only in the Malayalee community, but with every community. I’m twenty-three years old and similar frustrations have been on my mind for the last few years. What is girl supposed to do after she’s saved herself? Most young people these days have fooled around at some point. And I’m not talking about having sex, although that is a huge concern as well. I’m talking about this relationship here and that relationship there and pretty soon one has to wonder if there is any more of one’s heart left to give away when it’s been so many places already. We’re supposed to regard the opposite sex as brothers in Christ. Now what person who honestly takes that to heart will find within themselves to flirt with her “brother in Christ”?

Before I go further here, I will point out that there is one difference between myself and the two women that posted on the board. I’m not desperate to get married. And with everything I want to do in life, there aren’t that many guys out there who want the same things. Because when it comes down to it, jumping off the well-trodden path and carving out a way of your own is not something most people are interested in doing. So here I am at twenty-three still trying my very best to see guys to the lens of absolute purity as God demands, and never so much as been on a date. And for the record, that’s not because I’ve never been asked. And lately, I’ve had even extended family members suggest that I put myself online or somehow or the other snag a guy because that’s how girls are doing it these days they say and arranged marriage is long gone they say. And heck I don’t even want an arranged marriage but how am I supposed to just “find” someone? They don’t grow on trees!

Anyways, I’m not sure where I’m going to with all this. If you’d asked me a year ago, I could have ranted on and on about the unfairness of it all (not in terms of boys cuz I've never really been boy-crazy, but in terms of things I'm allowed and not allowed to do, the rules my parents set, etc.) and to a large extent I still think I took “trust and obey for there’s no other way” to a slight extreme. But I wonder if that’s even possible—in God’s book, probably not. And I must admit, even though it feels like I’ve lost out on many things, God has been faithful and I’ve gained so many other things—things that I consider far more valuable than the things I might have lost. However, I still feel for those girls who did it the “right” way and now it feels like they’ve been cheated out of the best. And as the clock ticks, their frustrations grow.

One of the posts suggested, “Don’t listen to anyone else; listen to God.” When it’s a young person pursuing a romantic interest, the supposed voice of God seems to say “Go ahead, we’ll fill your parents in later and if it doesn’t work out, don’t worry because if you keep it a secret, you can always cover it up.” And for the young person trying to do it right, the supposed voice of God might be “He/She is amazing, but obedience is better than sacrifice.” And then there are those who jump into a relationship head first and they end up hurt and the line goes something like, “I think God used that to make me a stronger person.” Oh yeah, sure He did. And then there are those that do the hurting, “Yeah, he/she wasn’t the right one.” And they’re off to find their next fleeting romance.

So where does all of that leave us? I haven’t the slightest idea. Let’s just say, pray, and pray a lot.

One Desi