I’ve read a lot of books about being single – some good, some not so much. And what I have discovered (in the good ones, anyway) is that the overall gist is the same: singleness should be celebrated as much as being married. Like Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” For me, this is my season of being what Bridget Jones calls a “singleton.” I hope and pray that this will not be the final season of my life – that indeed I will find someone to journey through this life with and share the joys and trials and laughter and sorrows as they come. However, for the time that I am a singleton, I want to make sure I’m appreciating every moment of it for as long as it’s here. I do not want to find myself at some point looking back over my life from the other side of the alter regretting that I didn’t take better advantage of my singleness while I had the chance.
This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this, but this year is a real milestone year in many ways which have really been bringing my marital status to the forefront of my thinking.
The Chinese calendar says that 2004 is the “Year of the Monkey” but I think if I could choose, I would call it the “Year of the Tasmanian Devil”. This is shaping up to be a crazy and confusing year – I turn 30, my sister is getting married, and my best friend is having a baby. None of these things in and of themselves are enough to make me do serious evaluation of my current state, but lumped together, the three have had a profound affect on me.
To begin with, my 30th birthday came and went in March. Sigh. I had planned to be away for the big day itself – I was scheduled to go on a hiking trip in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Unfortunately, I had to undergo some unexpected surgery which prevented me from traveling so instead the day was spent at home with my roommate doing a 24 – Season 2 marathon which was its own brand of fun. Now my sister’s wedding and the birth of my best friend’s first baby are events that are both taking place this July. I’m happy for both of them – truly, but it has been a lot to handle all at once. Allow me to explain.
You must first understand that my sister is 23 years old – quite a bit younger than I – and while I don’t think I ever would have verbalized this before (because I don’t think I consciously thought it), I realized through my tears after hearing of her engagement, that I had just never in a million years thought that she would beat me to the alter. If she were only a year or two younger I probably wouldn’t have been so shocked, but here I sit on the cusp of what feels like my last season before spinsterhood while she’s now picking out china patterns, bridesmaid dresses, and flower arrangements.
Add onto that my best friend and the baby that’s on its way. Why should this be a difficult thing, you ask? Naturally I have many friends who already have kids – in fact, 3 of my closest friends have had babies already this year. But this one is different…this is the baby of my best friend in the whole world. We met when we were about five and have been closer than close throughout the majority of our days since. Married eight years ago, I knew they were going to wait to have kids – her husband was going to grad school and there were some additional things that they wanted to accomplish before beginning a family. Eight years ago as I stood in the bridal party for their wedding, I thought that surely this would work out perfectly – that by the time they got around to starting to have kids I would be married and probably ready to start a family as well. Our children would most likely be close in age and then wouldn’t that be just perfect?! But now, eight years later, and I’m no closer to getting married than I was at 22 and she’s starting without me. Happy as I am for them, and honestly cannot wait to meet that bundle of joy, I can’t help but feel a little left behind.
What these three things together have done is make me see how even though I never sat down and wrote out what I thought my “life plan” was, I had one nonetheless, even if it was subconscious. And since my life has not turned out the way I subconsciously planned, I have to deal with that fact and turn my unspoken plans over to God. His planning is surely far better than anything my finite human mind could come up with. After all, if someone had come up to me at my high school graduation and told me that by the time I was 30, I would have lived in Alaska, New York City, and England, I would have thought they were crazy. But God had plans for me that I hadn’t even imagined and I’d much rather be on His timetable.
So for now I’m heavily involved in my sister’s wedding (bridesmaid and all that) so I’m having to show her my joy, and save my tears for my nights when I cry to God. I’m seeing Him more and more as my great comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I also managed to pick up a wonderful book called “God’s Promises for Singles” which really could be for anyone. It lists specific promises God gives in His Word based on the needs you might have for the moment, so if you’re in need of comfort, see page 11. Feeling dissatisfied? Page 40. Want a reminder of how Jesus is our companion? Page 82. And the list goes on. It’s a great little book that I’ve yet to really use to its fullest capacity, but I plan to keep it out in easy reach – especially this year.