Single and 29. It does not sound very old, does it? And yet I felt ancient. Surrounded by 21-year-old marrieds, I was beginning to feel like life had passed me by. Fellow 29-year-olds were trying to decide whether or not to have a third child. Meanwhile, my prayers for a husband seemed to be falling on deaf ears.
I had been generally content as a single person for a long time. While other girls were stressing about hitting the marriage milestone, I felt like it was no big deal. “It’s up to God,” I would say. I was never big on boyfriends and I believed there were more important things in life than worrying about a man. Things like serving God, for example, and music, and writing. And chocolate.
That belief lasted until I was twenty-seven. Then it was like a switch had been flicked on. One minute I was content, the next I was praying earnestly for a husband. God did not answer my prayer right away. While I waited, I learned a little about the woes of a single discontented person’s life:
1. I had no-one with whom to share my life. All my friends at church were married – and I mean all of them. Sure, I had a few close girlfriends who were very good to me and included me in their families as though I was one of their own. But they had their husbands. I did not. I craved the intimacy of a close exclusive relationship, one that was not shared with anyone else.
2. I had no financial back-up. Living on a single person’s income in Sydney is hard. I was a full-time worker, earning a professional wage, and living from pay to pay. There were some weeks when I had twenty dollars left in my bank account and I had to do urgent mathematical calculations to work out if I could afford to buy dinner that night. I remember a lot of hungry nights.
3. I was sexually frustrated. Well, someone had to say it. I was not an asexual being. I had a sex drive. Yes, even women have sex drives. Christian women too. It was hard having no-one with whom I could safely and lovingly express that drive.
4. I had no crisis or sickness support. When I came down with a flu, there was no-one to pick up lemonade or cook chicken soup for me. When I had a car accident, there was no-one to come and pick me up. When I had to go to hospital, there was no-one to take me and keep me company during the painful wait in emergency.
5. I had zero chance of having children. On the whole, this one was ok as I was mostly content without children. But it would have been nice to have had a choice. Especially when, as mentioned previously, my friends were popping them out like it was going out of style.
While some may be content in singledom, and yet others may be successfully holding onto hope, some singles find the whole journey quite difficult. Yes, holding onto hope is important for our survival. I also think honest lamentation is equally important. Let us have the courage to speak up – and to listen – when lamentation arises.
What do you lament as a single person? Do you know other singles who lament their circumstances? How can you reach out to others during times of lamentation?