A single friend of mine invented this word, and I’m going with it. We agree – it’s the best word to describe this category of people in our lives.

Potentials are people whom we might have shared a future with, we’ve spent time with them, and even more time praying over them, and the most time dreaming of a life together.

And then they marry someone else.

It’s an odd thing to ‘marry off a potential.’ To watch them choose love in another lane, to see the hoopla over their pictures and attire, their entrance and exit, their joy now complete, and to fight the notion that it ‘should have been yours.’ To watch a Potential get married, and incidentally, to know they’re for sure having sex now, regardless of whether they were before… well, it’s a whole other thing to try not to obsess about.

There was this man.  Well, there is this man.  He’s still alive.  He exists, hence the present tense verb.  I thought I was going to marry him.

And I’m not the only one who thought so – many, many people thought so.  There are pages in my journal, one confirmation after another – through people and Scripture and events – that couldn’t be coincidences.  I practically had our names inscribed in a wedding cake serving set.

But he married someone else.

So there’s that.

Insert: Faith Crisis.  What were all those confirmations?  Who is this voice I was listening to, the one I know, the voice that has been true other times in my life and seemed so on track this time?  What the… what?

I don’t know.  I have no idea.  A whole psalm could be written about me right now, the girl who thought she knew the end of the story.  But here’s the thing about the agency of free will: God could have given me all those arrows pointing in that direction, but the man in question still had his own decision to make.  And that right there is the Game Changer.

The strangest kind of Potential is when he didn’t even know he was one. When it was perhaps all a one-sided love affair in my mind. That’s an odd one to process.

Not even sad, necessarily. Just… odd.

Back to the drawing board.

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