This was not the blog I had planned. I have two finished blogs and had told a friend I may flip a coin to choose between them. However, I was thrown a major curve ball which has caused me to wish to delay release of those blogs to go with a third option: Write this blog and share it first.
When life does not go according to plan and you end up single, like me.
My plan was to be married by twenty-one. I’m the relationship kind of guy. I wanted to share my life with someone special more than anything else, wanted children, and therefore had planned to be married as soon as possible. However, my plans to marry that high school crush passed along with my twenties and, despite my heroic efforts, I remain single to this day.
Anyhow, I decided to write this blog so my single (and wanting) friends can have a reason to smile. I’m single, it was not entirely my choice, it has been extremely painful at times, profound loneliness stinks, and yet God has been faithful. There have been many moments of deep despair and hopelessness, but I am here to tell you that there’s reason to hope and be happy.
I’ve decided to write about the things I would have missed out on and what I would not be today had I married when I planned. It is hard to imagine what I would be for certain today had I married young and we have no way to know that counterfactual reality of might have been, yet there are some things that I am fairly certain about.
Six things I would not be had I as a married planned:
I would not be a blogger. You are reading this blog because I have time to write it as a single person. Writing is something I do not completely enjoy, but it is something that seems to be a gift I have and I do it mostly as an act of faith. This blog was started a couple years ago as a response to the questions in my mind about my purpose in life that came after a “no” from a girl who was the embodiment of a the Mennonite ideal for a wife.
I would not own an awesome car. Earlier this year it was my privilege to buy something most married men can only dream about and that being a brand new Shelby GT350 Mustang. Sure, we should not live our lives for such material things, but it was nice to see my hard work and diligent saving pay off in a tangible (very thrilling) way. So, while I would trade this mechanical beast for a wife and family in a heart beat, I still enjoy the memories of many grins and the experience.
I would not know the pain of rejection. Pain is bad, right? Well, not entirely actually, pain is temporary and with pain comes empathy and the ability to appreciate pleasure all the more. Sure, we avoid pain, we probably should avoid unnecessary pain, and yet pain helps me to identify with those who suffer. More significantly, it has allowed me the privilege of a deeper appreciation and understanding of my Lord and Savior who suffered for our sins.
I would not have the unique perspective that I do. My experience as a single person with unfulfilled desires and social needs often unmet gives me a special vision for the church. I say unfulfilled needs thinking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the idea that people need deeper connection to thrive. I can recall the many times I felt spiritually deficient, isolate from human touch and longed for a church that was more than superficially concerned. The fact is, we were made for meaningful human connection and without it we become unhealthy.
I would have missed out on many wonderful friendships. As part of my dealing with my own disappointment I became more open to being the answer for the needs of other people. Because of what I had gone through it was my desire to help others in similar circumstances. I have stepped out in faith and as a result have been very blessed. The friendships gained would likely be impossible had I been a married man. Investments made in Christian love for other people always seem to pay back in surprising ways.
I would not have been asked on a date. There is a first time for everything and I had a first over the weekend. When I wrote my last blog it was not with a clear personal agenda or self-pity. There are some unanswered questions right now that keep me from being ready to make a serious romantic commitment. My blog was to create awareness of an issue that is not being adequately addressed in the conservative Mennonite church that I know. One thing for certain, I had not planned on being asked out on a coffee date by a very intriguing young woman.
But I do like my unplanned blessings and especially when they come because of faithful actions.
I have much to be thankful for as one blessed more than he deserves.
My next blog will be on the topic of marriage as martyrdom. But before that I wanted to encourage my single friends to see the bigger perspective. Those who remain single (because they were rejected by the world’s standard and not for prideful selfish reasons) may obtain the bigger crown because they are most like our Lord and Savior.
So, to my single friends, remain faithful. God may have some unplanned surprises in your future of a very pleasant variety. Trust God, the one who holds the future, and not your own human perspective or a worldly understanding. Live in true faith today and may God soon grant you the desires of your heart.
Smile too, it’s attractive.
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