That was all it took to send a wave of sadness crashing over me.
It happened last week in the grocery store. I picked up a lemon and somehow began one of those crazy juggling routines as it slipped from my hands and I tried again and again not to drop it. Eventually, I lost the battle with the lemon. As I bent down to pick it up, my eyes met the eyes of a guy who had been watching my circus performance. I smiled at my own foolishness and he smiled back.
At least I think he smiled. It’s hard to tell when you’re both wearing masks. Perhaps he was just reveling in his own ability to pick out fruit without flinging it around.
Whatever facial expression it was, it did me in. Suddenly, my desire for a man of my own to smile at, to laugh with, overwhelmed me. Loneliness, sorrow, and frustration rose within me and I found myself trying not to cry in the produce section.
Afterall, I’d just had Lasik, and the doctors hadn’t told me if crying was okay.
Not wanting to burn out my new eyes, I kept it together and finished my shopping, but the feelings lingered inside me.
A Not so RoMANtic Holiday…
One of friends recently introduced me to the term “rotic.” I’d never heard it before. When she told me it was romantic without the “man,” I had to laugh. Apparently, it’s a way for single women to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
We singles try so hard on Valentine’s Day, don’t we? We either do our best to stay positive and make the day special, or we wear black, eat lots of ice cream, and hide away.
No matter what we do, though, it seems like the whole world throws our singleness back in our faces-
No man. Which must mean…
No flowers, romantic dinners, sentimental cards, or anything else.
No life. Not one that anyone really wants, anyway.
When the world is sending us that message- What’s a single girl to do on Valentine’s Day?
First, I think you need to start by being honest with yourself. I believe there are times when it’s okay to struggle with being single. For many, Valentine’s Day is one of those times.
I’ve said it before- being single is HARD. Especially if you’re a woman like me, who’s never been in a relationship. That’s tough. I’m not advocating wallowing or bitterness, but I think it’s okay to occasionally grieve over your singleness. Sometimes, you simply must confront the hard truths:
I will probably not get married.
I will never be a mother.
I will always be on the fringes of society.
There they are- honest statements about being single and approaching forty. Some days that truth is really, really going to hurt. Some days, a smile in the grocery store is going to knock you sideways.
Be honest with yourself and acknowledge the hard days, but don’t stay there. Don’t let them bring you down. Eat the ice cream (I may have eaten a pint of strawberry cheesecake ice cream on Valentine’s Day…), cry for a bit, but then get out of your chair and move on.
On the days when loneliness seems to hang around you like a heavy cloak, fight it.
When the sight of red hearts and mushy valentines makes you want to choke, look elsewhere.
Tell yourself you are not a victim of your circumstances. Being single isn’t a prison sentence or a guarantee that you’ll die alone someday. It’s not a commentary on who you are as a woman.
It’s the life God has chosen for you right now.
Failure to acknowledge that leads to anger, both toward God and life. It produces women who are sharp-tongued, resentful, and unpleasant to be around. You know- like those spinster governesses we see stereotyped in old movies.
Even on the toughest days, I have no intention of becoming a spinster governess.
Instead, try to remember that singleness really is a gift from God. It is possible to be single, fulfilled, and satisfied with your life!
Acknowledge the pain of being single, work through the pain to embrace the truth of God’s plan, and then move on. Get going with your life.
No one is meant to live in a perpetual state of wanting. Married or single, life is going to throw challenges at us. We can work through those challenges, or we can sink down in the middle of them.
Some challenges may last forever. I don’t anticipate my single status ever changing. I’m pretty sure I’ll be checking the “single” box on my tax returns for the rest of my life.
Every time I check that box, I feel a tightening in my throat. Unwanted whispers through my mind.
Independent, I can whisper back.
Open to anything
I can fight back with my own adjectives. I don’t have to let Valentine’s Day, society, or my own mistaken conscious label me, and neither do you.
Hold your head high and live each day with intention. Embrace your singleness and move on, confident in who you are by yourself.
Who knows? Maybe next year, on Valentine’s Day, you won’t even need the ice cream.
You might want to stay out of the grocery store, though.
This week, I’m thankful romantic holidays don’t last forever. I’m also thankful for the friends, family, and resources we have to help us work through them. God’s plans are always best, even if they don’t feel that way at times. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!