Every so often I am reminded – harshly – of my relationship status: SINGLE. It might be attending an event alone, it might be another Sunday morning in the church pew alone, or it might be that this time of year it seems everyone is getting married…but me. And at nearly 36, it can get a little depressing. OK, a lot depressing. I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it most of the time. But every so often, there it is.
My parents married 1 year after graduating high school together. By the time they were my age, I was in high school. They were literally together until death do them part. My sister married her high school sweetheart as well. For all intents and purposes, I guess I should have followed in their footsteps. But that has not been my path. And at this point in my life, it never will be. I will never know what it is like to spend my whole adult life with someone else. I will hopefully know about spending the REST of my life with someone, but I will never be able to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. Even a 40th is probably out of the question.
An interesting dynamic of being a single Chritian woman is the expectation of getting married is different than for non-Christian women. At First Baptist I am a rarity – single, never married, no kids, over 30. I am odd (and that has nothing to do with personality). I am different. And in many ways I am an outcast. Now do not get me wrong, I know LOTS of people at FBCW. But I am amongst a very small percentage of single adults and an even smaller percentage that are not parents or divorced or both. And it has made it difficult to feel like part of the larger church family.
Why? Well it really comes down to the purpose of community church. I can worship God alone. I am sing and pray and study alone. I attend a church for a couple of reasons. 1. Teaching. Having a pastor who is knowledgeable in a way that I am not and gifted at teaching is a big draw to any church. 2. Serving. Now I can serve people anywhere, but the church allows me a place to channel that service and let it branch out beyond its walls. Finally, 3. Fellowship. Church is a place where believers meet other believers to hold each other up in friendship and accountability. And it is the single hardest part of being single in the church.
Hearing about how people you know – people you may call your friends – who have “dinner parties” that only involve married people. Knowing that these 3 couples spend their weekends together – because their kids are friends. Being told over and over “we have to plan a girls night” only to find out that they don’t really have time for it because they had a girls night out – with the other moms. Sitting at a table at a church function and having absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation that is only about diaper rashes, infuriating husbands and school vouchers.
I have been in all of those situations. And as much as it may sound like it, I am not bitter. I have a couple of single friends who make the time to get together. I have women friends who are older and have time to talk to me. And when I am able to, I keep whatever connections I can to the people I call friends but I rarely see for more than a moment. But it does get difficult at times.
Do you know someone who is single? Do you sometimes wish you had that kind of “freedom” again? Do you see their lives as glamorous or fun and yours as work? Well ask one of us. You may get an entirely different story.