Do you feel conspicuously single at weddings? I do. Golly, ‘single’ must seep out of my pores.
It’s June, and darned if we’re not in the thick of wedding season. I, the unsuspecting writer, took my laptop to the coffee shop to nurse an iced Americano, shop for book covers, and do odd internet errands, and what do I find? The girl who ‘can’t wait to try on her dress tomorrow’ is beside me.
I walked by the bulletin board at work today and saw a poster for someone’s wedding social. Didn’t they just take one down?
Non-Manitobans, a social is a gathering where people eat, get drunk, dance, and give money to the couple… or something.
I’ve passed through one wedding already and have two ahead of me in the next three weeks. I’ve been the dutiful friend and coworker who’s oohed and ahhed over the ring, the dress, the invitations, and then hugged the bride at the wedding and sat through the speeches. I caught the bouquet (and knocked some poor chick over—read about that here), and I’m prepared to do it all over.
I’ve picked out a pretty aqua sundress. I’ve circled Home Outfitters with a gift registry (does anyone go to Home Outfitters for any other reason?) for eons looking for the one jar.
There’s a bitter-sweetness to it. I’m so happy for my friends. And, well, I’m so glad I’m not the one planning what colour the border on my invitation will be and if I should or shouldn’t invite third-cousin Steve. But they go two by two, as someone once said, and I always wonder, as I clutch the gift registry, as I sit in the pew, camera poised: when will it be my turn?
Single girls: don’t we all think that?
Don’t we all feel a little bit gut-punched when our friend announces her engagement, as she shows off the ring, as she flips through her wedding photos? Even though in our strongest moments, we remember how happy we are for our independence, and how glad we are that we’re not starting a family just yet, and we tell ourselves that we’re too busy for a relationship?
We’re not crazy for feeling that way. We’re made for love and for relationships. Our hopes and our dreams are good, natural desires. Our unfulfilled sex drive (if you’re a celibate single like me) is not evil.
It just isn’t time yet.
Now isn’t the time to pine for what you can’t have, and what you probably can’t control. Now is the time to chase your purpose, your calling, your potential. Now is the time to pursue education—to get the degree, or to delve deep into subjects you love. Now is the time for adventure—hopefully with your family or your best friends. Bungee jump, backpack Europe, go on a week-long shopping trip (like my sister and I are doing in a couple weeks. Yay!). Now is the time to learn discipline—keeping house, financial intelligence, healthy living.
Those things, once accomplished, cannot be taken from you. They are ‘safely stored in the past’ as Victor Frankl said. They will turn your life into a masterpiece whether you marry and start a family, or you are the crazy aunt who tells the best stories. Believe it or not, there is much more to your life’s calling than ‘wife’ or ‘parent’, even though those are good things.
I hope you make the most of the now, because time isn’t waiting for you or the spouse that may be out there for you. One day you’ll wake up and ten years will have past. Will you have made anything of them?
As I said recently, the future doesn’t seem to deliver. Putting our hope on future events will just let us down. Rather, let’s work on everything we can and put the rest in God’s hands.
Single gal in the aqua sundress, the wrapped gift in her hands: cry if you want when the bride walks by. It isn’t easy to be single. But dry your tears and smile, and dance, and catch the bouquet, and laugh with all your friends around the table. Enjoy the moment, whatever it is—and perhaps soon you will find yourself where you want to be, that you are the person you want to be.