It was called a “Wishcraft Project”. During the first half of the semester we were supposed to do all kinds of self-searching, journaling our thoughts in a notebook. We were not told that at the mid-point of the semester we would evaluate our writing and decide what was missing from our lives. And that the rest of the semester would be dedicated to brainstorming ways to make those dreams come true.
I was taking a personal psychology class at Modesto Junior College. With Matthew in kindergarten now, I was free to pursue some kind of a degree, but I felt a little at loose ends. I really didn’t have a plan for my education. All I had ever wanted was be a wife and mother. Now I was a widow and a mother.
So there I sat at the half-way point of the semester, looking over my writing. I really didn’t have a lot of wishes to craft. As a Christian I had a satisfying, even exciting, relationship with God. I had an adorable little boy and a nice house to live in. Social Security provided us with enough security to get by comfortably. The only unfulfilled dream that kept surfacing in my writing was “a wonderful man” to share my life with. And we were supposed to dedicate the rest of the semester to making that missing dream come true!
“Oh great,” I complained to my room-mate, “I’m supposed to make it my class goal to find a spouse! How embarrassing!” It was too late to drop the class. Not to mention the fact that I had already put many hours of work into those notebooks.
“Just do it for the grade. Make it tongue-in-cheek and have fun with it.” Barbie shrugged.
(I would say Barbie ‘counseled me wisely’, but Barbie always shrugged. She was a most placid and pragmatic girl.)
“You can do it,” she encouraged me. So I did.
Our next assignment was to make a “flow chart” to measure our progress. I was supposed to post this chart in a prominent place on my wall, apparently to keep myself on task. Okay…I decided to be tongue-in-cheek. I drew a little teardrop on the far right of the chart, with the words “Lonely Me.” On the opposite side of the chart I drew a red heart and the words, “A Wonderful Husband”. Now I was supposed to list possibilities of things I could do to help me toward my goal. Baby steps. I was supposed to draw a line each time I tried one of the avenues, and thus I would chart my progress across the three-foot expanse of poster board.
Tongue-in-cheek. Barbie might drawl, “Hey, there’s a cute mailman. You should put him on your flow chart.”
It was fun, but I made no progress. I did post some possibilities though. I could go to Parents without Partners. I could go hang out at bars. I could place a classified ad in the paper. (These were the days before personal computers, let alone E-Harmony.) I could go to some church singles’ group. Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick!
None of the options held any appeal. I especially did not want to go to a church singles’ group!
“If God wants me to get married He can put me in the path of the man of my dreams who will be working at the library or a bookstore,” I told Barbie. But I was supposed to be making lines across that flow chart. Rats.
I was chatting with Toni, a friend in one of my classes. “Hey- ” Toni suddenly interrupted whatever we were talking about. “Would you like to come to a Christmas caroling party at my church? It’s a singles’ thing.” (Oh yuck.) I explained that I didn’t go to “singles’ things” at churches. Then I remembered my flow chart. If I went to Toni’s church thing I could draw my first line on that silly flow chart…
I went to the gathering, and realized how much I had generalized and misjudged singles’ groups en masse. Everyone was really nice! Nothing could have been less like my pre-conceived idea.
Not only was I able to make that first line on my flow chart, but I met John, and before too long “Lonely Me” got “A Wonderful Husband!”