CatholicMatch blogger Jessica Zimanske recently addressed the myth of “The One That Got Away,” asking if, truly, there were people who we were meant to know, even love, who, by some tragic chance incident, slipped out of our lives.
No, she concludes, since God has for us a perfect plan.
Basically, this is Mike’s story, sad but true: He loved this girl, they loved to travel together — France, Spain, California. They fashioned monikers for each other based on characters from Hemmingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” He thought he would marry her. Yet he left her in the States, chasing his fancy to South and Central America. They reconnected in Montana, and he felt restless, so he broke up with her. A year later they met again, and it was clear their lives were heading in different directions — hers to law school, his to Asia — both very romantic, but very different.
In Hanoi, Vietnam, Mike thought of the girl — fondly. “I resisted that plotline,” he wrote. “I sensed that someday she would decide to come find me.”
Then, after not seeing her for three years (and her not showing up in Vietnam), he goes to D.C. to meet her. And he finds out that she’s in love, and happy, and content.
And he wasn’t.
He was lonely, and alone, and away from home. He wanted to be with her.
But he had missed his chance.
God does tell us in Jeremiah 29: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you…plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.”
Yet, we, as rational beings, have to cooperate with God’s plan. We can’t run away from it, and expect it not to be altered.
I used to threaten a guy I was dating that, at any point, I would up and move to France. I wanted him to know that he couldn’t take me for granted. Yet if I had moved to France (which I didn’t), I would have been taking him for granted. “Come and find me in the midst of my adventure,” was saying that he had to prove something beyond the call of what was reasonable. It would be disrespecting the good God had given me.
So, we rightly should trust in God’s providence – in dating and in life. But we also have to willingly accept the gifts God gives us when he gives them.
But, ladies, Mike is single. And he seems like a good guy, albeit one who’s learned a sad lesson. Thank God that, as Catholics, we believe in redemption and in second chances.