I woke up this morning and wrote a post filled with longing and sadness at my single state. My work took me to a village today where I had to assess for our news network how a particular cash benefit system of the government was working and if it was helping the poor at all.

My morning gloominess hounded me through the drive to that small village. And that’s when I indulged in my very bad habit of catastrophic thinking. It always starts with what will happen if the guy I am with will keep on delaying asking me to marry him. Then a strong part of me says I should break up with him and an equally strong part feels that is no solution. Then the other what if starts. What if he keeps me hanging and then one fine day years later dumps me and marries someone else. And I go through how no one will marry me because I would be much older considering I am already 30. Then I think of how I may never have children if he proposes late or if he later dumps me and then no one wants a woman with little fertility. On and on it goes till the thought of how the only thing I have is my job and how all this stress will make me perform badly, lose it and have no option but to commit suicide. Saying it out loud like this will definitely make me sound crazy. But in those moments, in my head, all these possibilities are very real. Most days I don’t identify catastrophic thinking for what it is and spend a whole lot of time thinking of worst case scenarios. Today, however, I identified it as the symptom of my anxiety and soothed myself by reading a couple of things on it.

But God wanted to show me one more thing about acceptance. Most of the proposed beneficiaries of this government scheme I met turned out to be poor village women, a majority of them widows. Drowned in debt some of their farmer husbands had committed suicide while others had died young of exertion and illness. I met a 66 year old woman who only had 2 teeth left and lived in a mud house. Her husband died 30-35 years ago she said and a few years ago, even her son died. The only living relative was a married daughter. This woman lived on government dole outs which came once in 3-4 months, a measly amount of a few hundred bucks. As I listened to her I realised here was a woman living a solitary existence in extreme poverty, but she told her tale with a passion and shy smiles at being interviewed by a TV crew. As I wound up, I asked her about the loneliness. Her answer was very simple, it is what is, there is no other way it can be so what is the use of feeling sorry. When she felt sad at her state, she said she would visit the nearby temple and sleep a little in the temple courtyard. After that, it was back to just living. Not dealing, not forgetting, not coping, just living. And I suddenly felt all my problems were so small. I complained a lot for someone who had much more in terms of basics sorted. Meeting this woman was a humbling experience. But it also gave that nagging thought that here is a kindred soul, a lonely soul. That thought scared me a little.

I don’t know what God has planned for me. But I wish that I would have resilience and a sense of acceptance like this wonderful woman I met today. Amen.

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