If we’re getting to know each other over dinner or a cup of coffee and you ask me about my greatest fear, I might say something about spiders or snakes and giggle a little. But then, I’ll pause and tell you that my greatest fear is that I will be single always.
I don’t love the way this insecurity winds itself around my heart, holding me in its thrall. I don’t love the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about my relational state, or the desperation that seems to flow through me like panic from time to time.
This is what my greatest fear feels like from the inside.
There are many scenarios that reside within that fear. This weekend, I experienced one of them when my starter died, slowly, during a road trip, leaving my car dead in Portland.
If I had to choose a stressful scenario to top my list, this one would be ideal.
As I began to walk through the situation, I didn’t do it alone. My friend Hope was with me, planning only to have a cozy lunch. Instead, in addition to lunch, she was the one to wait with me for roadside assistance, accompany me to Costco, watch me purchase a battery I didn’t need, and eventually help me decide to abandon my car overnight.
Another friend from the conference picked us both up, helping us get where we need to go. Yet another drove me to meet the tow truck in the morning, and walked with me through the trip to the dealership and the repair.
I wasn’t alone for a step.
In the three hours between the gas station in Kennewick, where I discovered the problem, and Portland, I began to speak angrily (and tensely) to God. Intellectually, I knew that things wouldn’t have been materially different had I been in a relationship or marriage. I would still have traveled to Portland for the conference alone. My starter gave out as many things do: with no warning. I would still have been driving down the road in a state of worry, hoping that I would make it, the words of the man who had jumped my car still ringing in my ear: you’d better hope your battery makes it. It could die at any time.
I knew that marriage wouldn’t have changed anything, but I couldn’t help but feel that this incident underscored my singleness. It made me feel single with a capital “s.” I was angry, I was hurt, I was frustrated.
But as the weekend unfolded, my friends took good care of me. They treated me with love, they kept me company, they checked on me via text and phone. They held me in strong, warm arms. This weekend, these were my significant others, and I was unable to imagine a scenario in which having a partner would have been better.
My angry, tense prayers to God were not answered in the way I might hope, I suppose: with lightning and thunder and a man prepared for mutual adoration. Instead, they were answered with people I’ve loved, and spent time getting to know. This love story, this rescue, came in a way I didn’t expect. Little did she know.
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