Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Addendum to Discussion on Singlehood

I wanted to elaborate even further on my post from 1/11 and the discussion it seems to have spawned. Which I have enjoyed, by the way -- thank you to all who have participated thus far. :D

The issue of being single vs. being married seems to be a rather delicate and complicated one. Singlehood and marriage are two distinct phases in life, and just as in any other life-season, one must aim for contentment and holiness throughout. But this contentment and holiness can be tested, and the balance can be tipped into the realm of discontentment and gut-wrenching chaos.

For instance. I worked at a job a few years ago where a girl asked me if I had any kids. I naively replied that no, I wasn't married. She responded, "Well, you don't HAVE to be married to have kids!!" I blushed and concurred.

Actually, at that same job, the seating assignments were unstable, and one day a new trainee was sitting at my cubicle and made a remark about the pictures I had displayed of my cats. "Hey, whose cats are these? Whoever this is, must not have any kids!!" Meaning that if I had CHILDREN, I would have displayed pictures of them instead. I suddenly felt self-conscious about my singlehood. Or my datelessness, for that matter. Besides, what the heck is wrong with me showing off pictures of my meowing babies??? (Hey, I should post some for y'all someday. :D)

I mean, come on. Why should I feel inferior just because some people reproduce before their time, while I'm still sitting here preserved??? Not to put down those who didn't wait as they should have -- God loves all of us, and loves to forgive us and restore our lives. But I'm perplexed at how I felt put down for doing what I was SUPPOSED to do, which was waiting for marriage and enjoying my singlehood and cat-motherhood, and how I felt that God needed to fast-forward through this suddenly agonizing period so that I could be joined forever to some dude and finally be on the same level as everybody else. Perhaps it was my own self-consciousness and insecurity. But my mind still felt like an anthill that had been stepped on.

Even in the church. Many of the sermons I've heard in Odessa insert the phrase "when you get married" or "when you pray about your future spouse" or something similar. Perhaps assuming a little too hard that everyone in their congregation is eventually going to get married. Which is not a horrible assumption to make, but technically it's a matter that's really out of their hands.

Faith will be tested. But I really wish folks would remain a little more sensitive to those around them whose singlehood is being tested.

In the meantime, I am endeavoring not to give into temptation. When the online dating commercials come on the tube, I will NOT throw my shoe at the TV.

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I have read through one history
Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

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"When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

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