I came across a book whose title and author I no longer remember, but the true story always stayed with me.
The author described her experience as an obese young woman who weighed over 300 pounds. Feeling unable to lose the weight, this young woman did not even have the conventionally pretty face and attractive hair some overweight women have.
Because of all this, she felt certain that love and marriage could never be an option for her. But being a naturally warm and nurturing person, she invested all her love and caring in the babies she was responsible for as a nurse in the maternity section of her local hospital.
She made peace with her life as she saw it, that she would never marry and have children of her own. Thus, she completely removed any thought of romance or love from her mind.
Though she could have put herself in the category of a have-not, she decided to become a giver instead.
(What's the difference? I suppose it's a matter of focus and direction...)
That same hospital also employed a young male pediatrician of average build and a warm engaging personality. For the sake of the babies, they ended up working together quite a lot and developed professional appreciation for the dedication and caring they saw in each other.
This flowed out into catching a cup of coffee together after work to discuss events that occurred during the day. Sometimes, he stopped by her house and they sat on her front porch together for a chat.
Grateful for a dedicated like-minded friend and co-worker, she enjoyed the friendship in a completely platonic manner.
One night as they sat chatting on her front porch, the doctor suddenly asked her to marry him.
Her heart stopped. "What?" she said, sure she couldn't have heard him right, yet also knowing that he wasn't cruel enough to joke like that.
He again asked her to marry him.
Wide-eyed, she turned to him in shock and said something like, "But I'm so obese! You're normal and you deserve a normal-sized woman! I'm just so obese."
And then he replied with something like, "That's because you need a body big enough to hold that huge heart you have."
And at some point, she lost all that excess weight, but the book wasn't about that, so I don't know how she did it. She just mentioned it as a postscript at the end.
Anyway, the above encounter always stayed with me because it was a compelling example of how you don't need to go tearing after things or letting resentments and self-pity pile up in your head.
All she did was just decide to empty what she really wanted (marriage and children) from her mind and heart, and then just focus on being a really good person and giving love where it was needed in order to find meaning in her life.
And then Hashem brought her husband to her doorstep without any effort or angst on her part.
And together, they ended up being a force of good in the world.