“So don’t go wishing or regretting, there’s no selective way to cull You can’t change anything, without changing it all.”
I used to live a hypothetical life. I would be sitting at my desk and the sight of another Facebook photo of another wedding or engagement or new baby would usher me into a fugue state where I’d imagine all the ways my life would be different if I just hadn’t done what I did, said what I said, or gone where I did. And I’d kick myself for all the things I was missing out on. I’d tell myself “Look! Look how much better our life could have been.” As I pointed out a shadowy hunk of a husband and the most adorable (and well-behaved) children you ever did see. And look at that – I wasn’t a receptionist… I was everything I ever wanted to be! And successful. Very successful. And very happy. So stupidly happy that the Shadow-Man and I would sit around with my friends and just laugh. Toasting to sunsets and terraces and a life lived correctly.
I used to visit that life a lot, but I don’t let myself anymore. Not because it wasn’t real, but because of the parts of it that were.
I realized that I was building a perfect life by taking everything that I love about my life now – this city, my friends, my opportunities – and adding all the things I wish I had on top. But that math doesn’t work.
Ten years ago I was prepping to move to Australia, if I had gotten married ten years ago – that probably wouldn’t have happened (bye-bye Australian friends and experiences). Five years ago, I was prepping to move to New York, if I was married with kids that probably wouldn’t have happened (bye-bye New York friends and experiences). One year ago I was making videos that made Shonda Rhimes a fan of mine – if I was married with kids, that definitely wouldn’t have happened (bye-bye Scandal friends, experiences and opportunities). Everything about my life today is built on everything that has (and hasn’t) happened up until now. So for me to have any of those imagined things, I would have had to give up something real. So I ask myself: what would I trade? Which of my friends, strengths and dreams would I give up?
And it turned out that the list of what I wouldn’t give was pretty long.
So I try not to torture myself with hazy imaginings of my “if only” husband and children. They’re amazing, but they have no place here. Because if they did, I’d have no place here. I don’t know where I’d be or even who I’d be. Or what I’d be wishing for from there. Because no life is perfect. But mine is actually pretty good when I’m not focused on what I don’t have.
I’m fascinated with the idea of space lately. Not in a “Star Trek” kind of way; it’s a Why-do-I-feel-this-way? kind of way. I’ve been reading the Creation account in Genesis and focusing on how much space God created before He filled it.The sky. The Oceans. Land. He created them empty and then He filled them. And I think He does the same thing with us.
I left an event the other night and as I was walking to the train I suddenly felt profoundly lonely. It was like I crossed 5thAvenue directly into the Swamps of Sadness. So I tried to rally some of my hang-out regulars, but no one was available. So with no one else to talk to, I had to settle for talking with God. Which is annoying because He could fix this, He could fill this space with someone, but He hasn’t.
So I told Him how I felt and then we walked up and down the aisles of Rite Aid looking for something to sadness eat. And then I went home and watched part of “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2”. And life went on.
But don’t worry; this is not the part where I say how I realized that God wants to be the one to fill all the empty spaces in my life. And that He’s all that I need, Hallelujah. Because I don’t think that’s true. Not in the way we typically “encourage” single people to believe. How often have we heard “God wants you to be fully satisfied in Him first and then…” or some variation of that? As if God is the insecure If-I-can’t-have-you-no-one-else-can type. But He’s not.
In Genesis 2:18, before the fall, when all was literally right with the world and everything was good, God said it was NOT good for man to be alone. Even though man had Him. God knew there was space there. Because He put it there. He could have wired humanity to need nothing but Him, and then He and Adam could have had the best bromance ever for all of eternity. But He didn’t. He left space for relationship. And then He filled it – with someone else.So does He want to fill the space Himself? Yes. But not always WITHHimself. In the same way He didn’t create the sky to just sit in it Himself, there are spaces He’s left in our lives for things other than just Him.
So that emptiness we sometimes feel, that space where we’re like “God, I do love you, but I still feel like something’s missing.” That’s not a bad thing. It sucks, but I think it’s actually a good sign. God doesn’t make space to leave it empty. So if there’s space, it’s there to be filled. And He will fill it.
It’s not a question of if, it’s just a matter of how and when.
I never wanted to start this blog. Even now as I’m getting my blog on, I wish I wasn’t. I hate that I am because I hate that I can. To be in my 30’s and still single was not part of the plan. And even as the years kept approaching like no suitable man ever has, I kept hoping against hope that this phase (Dear God, it is just a phase, right?!) was going to end any minute now. But it never did yet. So here we are. Single as ever. I mean, I know I am and since you’re reading this, I assume you are too. So…
Hello! Welcome. And also: I’m sorry. Because you have obviously reached one of three points:
It’s not funny anymore. And maybe you’re suffering a little bit or feel that you may be about to. So you wandered over here in the hope of finding some answers or “aha moments” or helpful hints to help you either be okay with being single (if that’s how it has to be), or, much more preferably, teach you something that will totally flip the switch and end the drought. Or…
You actually have no business being here. You’re younger than 27 and/or married and you just can’t let us have this one place of peace and quiet away from your incessant whining about all your non problems. You are the worst. Get out of here.* Or…
Your well-meaning friend/mother/aunt/married younger sibling heard about this new site for older Christian singles and immediately thought of you. He/She sent you the link with a “thumbs up” emoji and if they really love you, a sweet little note that said “For while you wait.” Or some variation of that. Don’t be mad. They mean well. And they actually did you a solid.
However you ended up here, this blog is written and (wo)manned by a veteran of singleness, a prisoner of war, if you will. I wish I could say that I’ll be telling you how to win the war or how to truly love the way that you’re losing it, but I can’t. I won’t. Because if I knew how to do either of those things, I wouldn’t be here.
The truth, as you already know, is that it’s an ebb-and-flow kind of situation. Some days it’s fine, you don’t even think about it. You’re just living your life and loving that you can go an entire winter without shaving your legs or anything else. But then all of sudden something will upset the balance. Could be something big like a friend getting engaged. Or something small like seeing a couple on the subway. Or even smaller like seeing two cookies that have run together on the baking sheet and thinking “Even these cookies found someone!” Whatever it is that sends you into the spiral of hopelessness and despair that leaves you listening to Adele and reactivating that Eharmony profile (not that there’s anything wrong with that) this blog is just to let you know that you’re not alone… well, I mean, you are, but not in the cosmic sense. So if you feel like you’re spiraling, or just about to – go on.
I’ll meet you at the bottom.
* Dear under 27s and marrieds: All bans and restrictions have been lifted. You are still kinda the worst, but you can stay.