That's how my care group leader opened our meeting last night.
Now, for one, let me just say I'm always a little unsure of how to react when, at a singles' group function, we ACTUALLY talk about being single. I can't say as it has ever happened before this one... and now it seems like it happens a LOT. That said.
He wanted to go around the room and have everyone tell a story from the past year of how they'd felt blessed by their single state. I'm sure if he'd had two more hours, he would have inquired of each one of us individually. It struck me as a little overoptimistic to assume that everyone there would have a response, especially since, even over the course of maybe 30 minutes of hearing others' testimonies, I would still have had nothing to say, even if he'd called me out.
Yeah, intellectually I get it. You've got more time on your hands. You're free to go out with friends or stay out late. You can serve more freely in the church. You can eat ice cream cake and popcorn for dinner if you're so inclined. But those are just things that I tell myself to try to make myself feel better. I don't see them as blessings. I know that singleness is a gift, but I'd never call it that and REALLY mean it. I've never felt blessed by it.
On the other hand, at least I can say I don't feel cursed by it. I have no notion of a mean God withholding good things for no good reason. Duh, He's God. And that's my answer to the question Matt closed the meeting with yesterday. He said to share our answers to this question with someone by tomorrow. I have, but I'll share it here as well. The question was - "What can you do to remind yourself of God's goodness in the midst of your single state?" Or something along those lines. My second answer doubles as the best answer I'd have for the first: If it were possible, I WOULD be dating someone. You know, "possible" in the sense of "I like you, you like me, wanna go out? ktnx call me!" But I'm not supposed to be in a relationship right now, therefore I am grateful that God has not even allowed for that temptation. I guess it's circular reasoning - I know I'm not supposed to be because I'm not, and if I were, it would be the right thing, so really, either for the good of the joy or the good of the learning process, I can't go wrong. So basically it amounts to a gratefulness for His omnipotence through space and time. And, y'know, that He cares to bother with that sort of thing.
Personally, I liked singles' group better when we didn't talk about it. I go through my day NOT thinking about it and then go to hear God's Word preached and instead I'm asked to dwell on the very thing I've been trying to avoid. Eh, that's not as true as it used to be. I don't have to try nearly so hard not to think about it as I once did. But still. Like the assumption that alll 20-something of us have actually found blessing in the gift of singleness, I question the wisdom of taking an entire evening to discuss... THAT. For my own sanity, I had to walk out of chapel one time because of that, and that, when I was older than many of the singles there. I simply couldn't handle it. Call it ignorance or immaturity or idolatry and you'd be right, but you'd also have to agree that it did nothing to encourage my soul, either. Doubtless, any number of people were really encouraged by last night's conversation. I... didn't cry. That's gotta count for SOMEthing.
Yeah, can I hear myself. I'm a whiny child who STILL hasn't learned how to fight this battle. I feel like I'm in a group of people who all GET it, who don't need to be babied, who can engage in this sort of conversation without bursting into tears over crushing memories and crushed dreams, who know how to be sad about this without letting it destroy them. I feel like I'm in the wrong class, like I should have been held back a year or something.
I know that marriage isn't that big a deal. That there's nothing wrong with being single, both sides have pros and cons. I know that you never find satisfaction in another person. I know there is no happily ever after. Relationships aren't the answer. So... how 'bout let's talk about something else, eh?