DEAR ABBY: I would like to respond to "My Secret," the married woman who is still pining for "Father F.," the Catholic priest who was her college professor.
I experienced a similar obsession for many years. The man of my dreams had also been my college professor, and I was convinced that had I been a different kind of person, we would have had an affair.After graduating from college, I moved to another city and married a wonderful man. Even though my marriage was a happy one, I continued to fantasize about meeting "him" again in some romantic place. I felt certain that during those times when I thought so intensely about him, he was having those same feelings about me.
Some years later, while visiting my hometown, I ran into him one afternoon in a busy mall. All those memories came flooding back and I was thrilled to see him. With outstretched arms, I shouted excitedly, "I can't believe it's really YOU!"
He stopped, and, Abby, he didn't even remember my name. I felt like a fool!
Quite often, especially when life gets rough, we recall special people in our past as still being there where we left off - frozen in time - waiting for us to come back and pick up where we left off. The sad truth is that time marches on for everybody.
You wisely advised the woman who was still carrying the torch for "Father F." to get rid of her fantasies. Others who are inclined to dwell too long on the past would do well to follow that advice. - A FAITHFUL READER FOR 30 YEARS
DEAR FAITHFUL READER: How wise you are. Read on for a letter from a younger soul sister who is also very wise:
DEAR ABBY: My heart stopped when I read the letter signed "My Secret." I could have written that letter. I am currently attending a Catholic university and would give anything for a relationship with my philosophy professor, who happens to be a priest. Richard Gere he's not, but his intelligence, wit and personality make him the kind of guy most girls would kill for.
The way I look at it, I plan to take advantage of my time as his student and reap the benefits of his skill as an instructor. Like a flower making use of a spring rain shower, I want to soak up every bit of his wisdom so I can be the best person I can be. I will place him high on the list of professors who have had an impact on my life, then file that list with the rest of my college memories, and move on.
My advice to "My Secret": As for leaving your husband to be near "Father F.," forget it. Life is a continual journey; don't waste your time going down a dead-end street. Instead, emulate "Father F." and honor the vow you made, just as he must honor his. Having you hanging around nearby will only make things more difficult for him if he is to remain true to his calling. Priests are only human, after all, and they probably don't relish the celibacy part of their commitment. I know exactly how you feel, but don't be the straw that broke the camel's back.
Like the prayer says, "Lead us not into temptation. . . ." Just sign me . . . CHERISHED MEMORIES
Abby's family recipes are included in her cookbooklet! Send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)