Julia Duin: The Anna Syndrome
Summertime is when weddings abound. No one longs for them more than the abundance of single women in our nation's churches. The dearth of marriage opportunities for most of these women calls forth certain coping strategies, one of which I'll call the "Anna syndrome" after the prophetess in Luke 2:36-38 who hung around the Jerusalem temple and happened to catch the baby Jesus on a good day.
Anna had been married at one point and as a widow was presumably living off her husband's estate. But he'd been dead many years and she had no children to provide for her, so perhaps she was quite poor. But instead of resorting to prostitution, which was the sole choice for women back then, she lingered about the temple and prayed.
I bring this Bible passage up because of memories that arose while helping a single female friend move. I got the job of organizing the piles of notes she had lying around. It struck me that so many were related to various church events geared to keeping members busy: retreats, ...1