People often assume I’m the youngest sibling in my family because I’m not married. But the fact of the matter is that both my younger siblings are married. I’m the oldest child.
It was an odd transition to make from “trailblazer” of the family brood to the one who was in many ways left behind. As the oldest child I was the first to go to school, ride a bus, drive, graduate college, and travel overseas. I was also the first to get a job, go on a date, and deal with heartbreak. Always the first.
Now, however, my siblings have some firsts that I may never experience. My sister was the first to plan a wedding. My brother the first to have not one but two children. Now there really aren’t any other firsts to trail-blaze. At least not any firsts that one wants to do. Like develop arthritis and heart disease or die. (Bleh!)
The funny product of being the oldest and only unmarried sibling is that my sister and brother initially thought themselves qualified to give dating advice. (To which I would have liked to reply a la Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice: ” I thank you for my share of the favour… but I do not particularly like your way of getting husbands.”) Because a 21-year-old newlywed is definitely all-knowing in matters of the heart as a result of the wedding ceremony. Fortunately, that did not last long after they realized that marriage is actually hard work.
But you know what? After the initial weirdness of my younger sister’s wedding and seeing my flaky brother hold his newborn son for the first time, it didn’t matter, anymore, if I were the first or not. In fact, I’m pretty sure God was using these things to show me that I’m not supposed to be first, anymore. I’m supposed to be putting other people first.
And no matter what happens, I’m holding onto God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Obviously, the single life is not the future I had envisioned for myself but it is what God had planned for me. And I know that whatever twists and turns it takes, His hand is guiding me all the way.
I’m not a trailblazer, anymore, but I’m still valued and loved. That’s enough.