This article was heavily inspired by this article and all of you beautiful, powerful, single, land-mermaids out there who have blessed me and so many with your love, passion, insight, intelligence, wisdom, and friendship.
This week Valentine’s Day kind of snuck up on me and then slipped passed somewhat unceremoniously. I had the notion to write a “single on Valentine’s Day” article for my blog, something comforting and empowering for single women, but I simply did not have the time this last weekend or earlier this week so Valentine’s Day came and went without much fanfare. However, if you are in fact a single young woman and you spent Valentine’s Day depressed and alone then I suggest you read this wonderful article by Rachel Heffington on her site Lipstick & Gelato. She expressed all the thoughts and feelings better than I ever could and her article reflects much of what I have been thinking about myself and my life recently.
Last year I began dreaming again for the first time in a few years. But somehow my dreams always ended with “when I get married” as if all my plans and ambitions depended on whether or not I got married and when I got married. Eventually I simply stopped. I stopped planning and dreaming as though marriage was inevitable and instead I honestly asked myself the question, “What if I don’t ever get married? What if that's not what's next? Not now or ever?” I was surprised with the answer because while it is a little disappointing to think I might never marry, I also know there are so many things I can do as a single woman, things I might not be able to accomplish otherwise. I think of my nieces and nephews and how I could be a sort of benefactress to them. I think of the church and how much I could give of my time, energy, and means. I think of becoming disgustingly educated and qualified. I think of going overseas, going across the country—there is so much I could do!
Conversely, marriage should not be the end of my singular dreams, ambitions, and identity. Certainly it will affect them and maybe even change them, but not end them. Marriage offers its set of boundless possibilities, but being single comes with its own limitless set of opportunities and perhaps the two do not differ as much as we think they do. Recently I realized many of my friends are single women. Some of them are young. Some of them are middle-aged. Some of them are elderly. All of them have contributed to my life in remarkable ways. All of them have given so much to this world, to their families and loved ones, to the church. I look at their lives and I think—yeah, if that’s me in twenty years, I would be really happy. Honestly, I think I could be happy single or no, but I’m not ruling out singleness.
This past Valentine’s Day whizzed by without a lot of ceremony. I was exhausted from the previous day of work and late-night studying but I pushed through another long day of work and a long evening/night of Biology labs and finally an exam. I arrived home just as my sister-roomie got home from a marriage counseling session with her fiancée. Yeah, we have all had marriage on our minds lately. My sister had brought me some Valentine’s chocolate and some other goodies because being single should never mean missing out on chocolate. As we sat in our living room and shared my chocolate over an episode of “Friends” she remarked, “Hm, I should have gotten you more chocolate.”
Needless to say, I felt very loved on Valentine’s Day and all week and all these past months and this year. It’s not simply the love of my family and friends; it’s the love of God that has been so real, present, and active in my life these last 12 months. He has always been present and active in my life but there are definitely seasons when he is quiet and when he does not feel so near. I know it is simply my subjective human experience, but I am still thankful for the seasons when his love seems to be radiating from every sunset in the evening and through every note of praise on a Sunday morning. I also have to say that my love has also been greater this year. My love for life, for God, for my family and friends. My affection and appreciation for these has grown deeper even if it is often poorly demonstrated. I would contend that when we feel unloved and alone it is not because we are unloved and alone but it is because we have forgotten how to love, we have forgotten to love, we have forgotten everything and everyone there is to love, and we have forgotten the God and Savior we ought to always love.