Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Something to break

it kind of sounds like singleness is a weakness, a sin, a habit or something to break.”

It took me 5 blog posts before I dared to twitter (Tweet?) to my “followers” that I was blogging about singleness. From past experience, my attempts at structured blogging had failed after a few posts, so I waited to see if this one stuck. After I found that I was coming up with more things to write about, I took a deep breath and published the message to twitter: “I’ve been blogging about big fears, sunsets, singleness and self-pity.”

The next day, one of my best friends had read my recent posts and we had the conversation where she made the above observation as she sorted through some of the things I had written. While walking through life alone is admittedly not an easy thing for me to accept or understand, to clarify, I do not believe it is in itself a sin (some people do!), or a bad habit (though it can be!).

The truth is that singleness, just like any circumstance, can be an opportunity or an excuse. I prefer my single years—whether they last for a few years or for a lifetime—to be the former.

Here I am. 30 years old. Working full-time at a midlevel management job in a smallish corporate office 10 minutes away from the hospital where I was born. Those plain facts don’t tell the whole story, don’t begin to reflect the journey it has been to “here.”

In reality, I’m incredibly and powerfully blessed. Here I am. 30 years old, healthy (apart from the fact that my office is located smack in the middle of some great coffee and eat spots, and a nice healthy walk often includes a latte.). I’m working in the best job I’ve ever had in a company that is doing good work in the world, work that is engaging and satisfying on many levels, with the chance to use my extra time and funds to participate in organizations and activities that fill my soul. My sister and I purchased a home together, thanks to a few years of my parents giving us a place in their home, allowing us both to save money for a home as well as a few chances to travel in the meantime. We live in a beautiful University town built on a strip of river valley between Puget Sound and the North Cascade Mountains (seriously, not many people can say they live 10 minutes from the ocean and 40 minutes from a ski resort). I have good friends who are—even rarer—good for me. I get to travel a few times each year. I have time, talents and resources to explore, and a good stock of books, movies, tea, and art supplies at home. I have a studio—a room for making things and writing—in my house! I have a car and a driver’s license! I live near a great Sushi restaurant! And I can even afford it now and then!

The list could go on, and does. The things I mentioned above are not even the best parts of my life, like the fact that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I have a good--even a cushy--life at the moment, much to be thankful for and much to be challenged by.

But all lives contain elements of struggle, too. I would go along with people like and Kanye West and say “…that that don’t kill me can only make me stronger.” Paul the Apostle even said to "Count it all joy." I have tried for a long time to reconcile my understanding of what an ideal life looks like in my mind with the knowledge that the picture patently contradicts my life now. I think most people look back over past decades of their lives and say, in some sense, “Well, THAT wasn’t what I expected.” The truth is, I expected my life to look a lot like others I saw; my mother’s, my grandmothers’, my friends’. I didn’t get any of those lives; I got mine.

it sounds like singleness is a weakness, a sin, a habit or something to break.”

It’s my response to the state of being single that needs to “break’; the circumstances can make me bitter and disappointed or else temper, refine, and shape me into a stronger person, a better woman. The dear friend I visited a few weeks ago will be shaped by her response to being up all hours of the night with a teething, colicky baby into a wiser and better woman and mother, if she responds well. Just as my friends’—Luz and Cole, Brooke and Phil, Steven and Alanna, Peter and Liz—forthcoming marriages will temper and refine and shape them into a wiser and better people—if they respond well.

We each have only (and all) the responsibility of our own responses to the crazy, difficult, and wonderful circumstances that inhabit our lives. I want to respond well.

This post from SCL also kicked my tail today.

1 comment:

Single and Sane said...

You're well on your way. You're seeing the opportunities that singleness has brought you. That, in itself, is a huge leap for a lot of people!

Margaret