Part of being a 31 year old single adult in the Mormon church is people trying to figure out why you are not married. If they love you, think you are talented and beautiful, then it must not be anything you are doing wrong but it must be that the guys in the church are "stupid, lazy, crazy...." and so forth. I can't tell you how many times I have heard this excuse. It's as if people, in their need to comfort me, feel that putting down the men of the church, will make me feel better. Sure there are men out there who are lazy, stupid, and all the other words I have heard preached to me but there are also men of valor.
There are men who stop whatever they are doing at midnight to come and give my roommate a blessing. There are men who leave everything in their life behind to serve extremely hard and amazing awesome missions. There are men who love their wives with all their hearts. There are men who give their children Father's blessings, school blessings, and blessings for the sick. There are men who mow lawns, paint walls, hold hands with their girlfriends, sit through Sunday School, and use the Priesthood of God. There are men who actually date. There are men who listen, serve where they are needed, and put God first in their lives. I LOVE these men!
A while back I worked at a Domestic Violence Shelter as a therapist for victims of DV and their children. I listen in horror as these women told their stories of violence. I saw the bruises on their bodies, I hear the anguish in their voices, and spend time with their traumatized children. At the same, to gain a balanced perspective I was also working with the offenders of DV crimes. I sat in groups with men who had committed heinous crimes and listened as they described violence unspeakable by their own hands. I tried to be professional but there were moments when I wanted to throw-up because of the things some of these men had done. They were at various stages of change and I prayed before, during, and after every group that I would be able to see these men as children of God. Every time the group was over I called my father, who I love with all my heart, to tell him I love him and thank him for being such a wonderful man. Then I would call my best friend to him how much I appreciate his goodness. I knew that if I let myself I would end up hating men after going to those horrible groups—instead I chose to love the valiant men in my life.
And so while I do get frustrated waiting for a man in my life, and while I sometimes laugh or nod in agreement when people place the blame for my singleness on men, I need everyone to know that I know there are men of valor out there. I know there are men who love God, who are trying to chose the right in the face evil. I know there are men who abhor pornography, say no to drugs, serve others, and work hard. I know there are men who love their mothers, respect their fathers, and treat their sisters like queens. I know there are men who read their scriptures, say their prayers, and show up at the temple.
And so tonight, for whatever reason, I want to thank the men of valor in my life. Thank you for putting God first. Thank you for seeing the good in me. Thank you for being a man that I can trust, love, look up to, and believe in.