I’ve been thinking about SingleRoots readers a lot this summer. I mean, I think about you all the time, but this summer, has been different. This summer, I’ve felt the heaviness of your singleness.
Which is kinda funny since I’m single too.
The longer I’m editor of a community of Christian singles, the more I hear your stories. They pour in through guest posts, comments, emails, and social media. I hear how frustrated you are at God and the church. I hear your struggle to fight for community. I hear you when you say you’re so tired of being alone. I hear the unwritten nuances when you say, “But I trust…”
Some days it propels me. It reminds me that there is much work to be done in encouraging singles that we are more than our dating lives. And to be honest, on my worst days, it just makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat. Because, well…because there is so much work to be done in encouraging singles that we are more than our dating lives.
This summer, some friends and I decided to read all three of Shauna Niequist’s books, Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread and Wine. One book a month, in the order that she wrote them, and we’d end with a lovely dinner party using the recipes she includes in Bread and Wine.
I was craving a summer of reading books with a highlighter in my hand, instead of words on a computer screen, and longing for conversations with people who weren’t afraid to talk about the hard places that we often skirt in Sunday School.
My motives were selfish—not selfish because I wanted it to be all about me, but selfish in that I wasn’t thinking about much else besides what I wanted and what the other girls in the group would get out of it.
In a word, I wasn’t thinking about you, the SingleRoots community. And let’s be honest, you don’t join a book club thinking about me, so it’s not like that statement hurt your feelings, now did it?
But the thing is: Even though I didn’t make this plan with my friends in order to think about you, you were what kept coming up over and over in my mind as I read her books—books that were not even about singleness.
We talk a lot about singleness around these parts, about the loneliness and the fears and the longing. We sometimes assume we’ve cornered the market on everything related to “waiting” and no one else could possibly know the meaning of that term like we do. But it’s simply not true. And I was reminded of that as I worked my way through Niequist’s books this summer.
Waiting is not ours alone. Everyone’s waiting on something, and ultimately, we’re all waiting on Eternity.
It’s how we wait that matters. The living is in the waiting.
So at the beginning of another week, can we just table the conversation about our singleness for a little bit? It’ll be there next week and probably the next. I’m not so sure our waiting has ever really been about our singleness in the first place. I think it has more to do with how we steward this time, how we live.
So for this week, on this day, can we simply focus on living—really living—within our waiting? And may I just encourage you in that? You’ve been on my mind and heart as I worked my way through Niequist’s words this summer:
Looking back now I can see that it was more than anything a failure to believe in the story of who God is and what he is doing in this world. Instead of living that story—one of sacrifice and purpose and character—I began to live a much smaller story, and that story was only about me. I wanted an answer, a timeline, and a map. I didn’t want to have to trust God or anything I couldn’t see. I didn’t want to wait or follow.” Bittersweet
“Enough: I don’t want to live like that anymore…there’s a fine line in there, and I feel I’ve crossed it a few times in these last months, and moved over into that terrible territory where you can’t be happy unless you have just that thing you want, no matter what else you have…I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for something more.” Bread and Wine
We could just live our normal, day-to-day lives, saving all the good living up for someday, but I think today, just plain today, is worth it. I think it’s our job, each of us, to live each day like it’s a special occasion, because we’ve been given a gift. We get to live in this beautiful world. When I live purposefully and well, when I dance instead of sitting it out, when I let myself laugh hard, when I wear my favorite shoes on a regular Tuesday, that regular Tuesday is better.
I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater.” Cold Tangerines
I’m praying for you, friends. Praying for all of us—that we will not pause our lives in the waiting, but we will live deeply and gratefully.