I’ve talked a lot about the negative aspects of singleness in this space. I have discussed the longing for a spouse, the craving to be seen and known and loved. I do not mean to minimize longing, desire or hope. I do not mean to suggest that marriage cannot be a blessing. I have never been fond of what people call “the gift of singleness.” But I am seeing things just a little differently these days.
This new year began, for me, with a false start. After years of living with my parents, since college, I was primed to move out with a roommate to a place of our own. I got this itch in the fall and acted on it, finding someone I didn’t know well, establishing that there were no serial killers among us, and setting out to go house and apartment hunting. We found a house which had what I thought was a lot of potential (but turned out to be a lot of problems, not the least of which: mice). Within a few short days of signing a lease, we found ourselves signing another document releasing us from it.
As I write, I am back in my room, surrounded by boxes, knowing that I am in the same place, but I am different. I am not the same Cara who made the decision to move out last year. I have learned a thing or two.
So it is with singleness.
It’s easy to look at my life and say that I haven’t made romantic progress. If you’re measuring progress by marriage, it might appear that I haven’t come very far.
But that is not how I measure progress.
I said yes to opportunities I would never have considered before last year. I told the story of my foray into Eharmony with this post (something I said I would never do). I told people that I wasn’t interested in dating them instead of ignoring them and hoping that they would go away. When I found myself being ignored, I pressed in for closure instead of letting it go.
Perhaps most surprising of all: I allowed myself to enjoy being on a date.
It’s easy to look around at the people in my peripheral vision. Whether I’m looking at them with envy or relief, the very act of comparison misses the point.
I’m the only me.
This is my story.
Being single has been a means of grace in my life. It is here that I have found the space to figure out what I really think about theology I’d never considered. It is here that I was moved to discover who Jesus really is (a day by day journey). God could have done these things any way He wanted. This is the way He chose.
A few years ago, I sat in an Indian restaurant with two girls I didn’t know well. We were asking “getting to know you” questions.
What is your greatest fear?
I remember looking them square in the eye and saying, “Are we going for funny on this, like spiders and snakes, or serious, like dying alone?”
“Both,” they said.
We were all single, and that never changing terrified us.
That is no longer true for me.
Those of you who have been along on this Single Minded Monday journey since it began know the windy path I’ve taken. I went from not being able to shut up about being the Bride of Christ, to singleness stereotypes in the church and confessed longing and hope (which surprised me, by that point). My views on singleness continue to be a moving target.
I’m comfortable with that.
That in itself looks like progress.
As this year begins, abruptly, shockingly, not in a fresh and new and resolutiony way, I am encouraged.
Even this year doesn’t know what it’s doing.
For the past few years, I’ve said things like this is my year. Last year was my year. I walked through every day, did my best, operated under the information I had. I didn’t try too hard to hold onto the days, I let them go. They are no longer where I live.
This year is my year, too. I’ll be walking into each day, breathing in and out, giving myself grace and trying to see.