My Day with the Older Single

Right before Rosh Hashana, I joined an organized trip for women to visit gravesites of holy people in the North of Israel. I had an issue at the time that I was dealing with, a problem over which I had shed many tears and lost many days in a depressed, stuck funk. And I hoped to use this trip to pray for an end to this problem that was causing me so much disappointment and distress.

On the bus, I sat down next to a woman who was visiting Israel for a few weeks. I’ll call her Lisa. We ended up spending most of the day talking about Lisa’s life. About what it was like being a partner in a male-dominated law firm, about the millions of dollars she had made and then lost and now was trying to make back again. About her introduction to Judaism eight years before, and the Jewish community in LA where she lived.

But more than anything we talked about Lisa’s age, 42, and her intense and still unfulfilled desire to get married and have a child.

Lisa was a charismatic person, fun to talk to, and good-hearted as well. She also looked and dressed like she had just stepped out of a clothing ad in a magazine. How was it possible that such a lovely and incredibly likeable woman had never gotten married?

Lisa explained to me that she had been so career-focused for so many years that she had only finally felt emotionally ready to get married at the age of 39. Her closest friends had also decided to get married late, and they were all succeeding in finding men to marry. But she, who in the past had always been chased and pursued by men, was suddenly hearing the booming telltale-heart ticking of her biological clock, and suitable men were no longer lining up to ask her out.

Lisa had decided that if she wasn’t married by this coming Passover, she would have a child on her own with a sperm donor. Who knew how much longer she would be able to bear a child? She had no time to waste… And this trip to Israel was a last ditch effort to visit gravesites and get blessings from rabbis in order that she should get married in the coming months.

Towards the end of the trip, when we were making our way back to Jerusalem, Lisa asked me what I had been praying for at the gravesites all day.

I had been praying, of course, about my issue. But I told Lisa only that I had been praying about nothing in particular.

And I wasn’t making it up. It was true. After a day spent speaking with Lisa, I realized that the issue over which I had spilled so many tears was really nothing.

And the truth was that, by the end of that trip with Lisa, I thought of my husband and my children, and was acutely embarrassed that I had ever felt otherwise.

One comment

  1. Beautiful.

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