"Don't you ever wonder," she asked, "if all the good guys are taken?"
She's not a frum Jew; heck, she's not even Jewish. So I remember to start from the beginning.
"Firstly, Natasha, it's not like I went out with such nice guys when I was younger; the ratio of 'nice' to 'not nice' guys hasn't significantly increased over time. Secondly, I'm a Jew. I'm a religious Jew. You know what that means? That means I believe in God.
"We have all sorts of paperwork backing up the belief that God arranges matches, that everything is bashert." I'm hoping she remembers what "bashert" means. "So either I believe in God, or I don't. To say that the 'good guys are all taken' means that I'm saying there is no God. Why should I bother with being religious? I might as well go out and eat a cheeseburger."
As with all the other arguments vis-à-vis the so-called "shidduch crisis" (ugh, just typing the term gives me the willies):
Impossible mothers of boys? Yes, they do exist, but quite frankly I don't think they are so difficult for God to outmaneuver. What is bashert will be bashert.
References that throw their charges under the bus? I can't control what other people say. I can only control what I say. What is bashert will be bashert.
Age-gap claptrap? As Orthonomics once said, if there is suddenly now a "crisis" (urgle) then it would have to arise from a new factor, and men have been marrying younger women for thousands of years. What is bashert will be bashert.
When my grandparents went through the Holocaust (CRISIS!), I'm sure the last thing on their minds was "How will this affect shidduchim?" After the war, the survivors tended to marry swiftly in less-than-ideal conditions, as a means to recapture that predictable normalcy that had been robbed them, not because of the six million, now in ash, that had to be restored. But even so, our decimated numbers were rebuilt, and more, in a staggeringly short amount of time.
The Holocaust (CRISIS!) didn't end because of something Jews did. We were liberated by outsiders, not from our own attempts to fight back. I think, today, in our zealousness to prove that we will not be butchered again, we insist we have control over that which we don't.
I can't control who is redt to me. I can't control who I meet, no matter how many singles events I attend or shadchanim I visit or how many simchas I get invited to. I can't control if a guy will like me that way or not.
Dr. Oz once featured Wyatt Webb, a therapist (there are a few videos in a row). His message comes down to this: You are not in control of anything. Yes, you have choice (bechira), but that is not control. On his list of methods to deal with acceptance of lack of control, number three is:
Examine your own belief system and not others'.
That goes even if the person next to you is a fellow Jew. Yes, we are all Jews, but we all stand on varying levels of emunah and bitachon. When I feel stuck or accused or frustrated, I remind myself: What is bashert will be bashert. Whatever anyone else tells me. Yes, I have bechira, but I can't control the outcome.
Penina lost her children because she acted as though Chana had the control to end her barrenness. None of us have control. We have free will. I think that's enough.