I consider myself fortunate that certain pressures do not seem overbearing for me, as they relate to dating, marriage, and/or courtship. I’ll be 26 in a little over a month; one year closer to the 30 mark. But in all honesty, that doesn’t even seem like a huge milestone anymore. If this was a quarter century ago, I might be pushed into thinking that something is wrong with me if I’ve had opportunities to date, yet find myself completely single and not even thinking at all about marriage. Of course, times have changed. They say 30 is the new 20, and I’m not sure whether that’s a sign that we’re living longer and longer, or if its just that we’re not maturing as fast as people used to. I’m going to assume the latter, since in my heart of hearts, I feel that at age 25, I feel just as clueless about marriage as I did at age 15. Okay, maybe my idea of who I’m looking for has evolved. Maybe my capacity to love others has also evolved, even grown. Maybe my experiences have taught me things that I did not know at age 15. But at the end of the day, despite what I don’t know about marriage, there is one thing that I hold firmly to, which is that while I’m out here in life all alone, trying to get through day by day, I’m not exactly alone. Not only are there others like myself, but God is out here with me as well. And He continues to teach me about the vastness of Him and His boundless marvel and love. Admittedly, being single can indeed be lonely… but that loneliness seems to be the perfect vessel through which God often speaks.
I feel that by isolating oneself, man is able to become aware of the abundance of his existence, rather than of the absence of those around him. Events in my life have led me to enter into deep and drawn out states of solitude, away from society, in complete solitary confinement even. These times, although tough, were not without purpose. In solitude, conflicting thoughts increase. There comes even a point in time where the mind teeters between loneliness and depression. And the only way you are able to bring yourself to the right side, is to realize that the distinct difference lies in loneliness versus solitude. Loneliness conveys the agony and grief of being on your own while solitude conveys the magnificence of being on your own. Albert Einstein once said that solitude is “painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.” I suppose that being forced to mature led to a better understanding of myself. And more importantly, being forced into solitude, my mind gained strength and adapted itself to lean on something beyond the world. Yes, solitude is difficult. But that is the exact reason that we should want to yearn for it. To learn perseverance. A richness gained.
Now I’m not arguing completely for solitude. On the contrary, through my time being single, I’ve been able to deeply appreciate the significance of community. As each year in the form of a page in my life, turns, I find a growing frequency of wedding invitations in my mailbox. If you feel that weddings make you feel wistful and serve as a question of when your turn will finally come, you aren’t too far off. However, on the flip side, I’ve found that weddings paint the perfect picture of what community is. Yes, there is the bride and groom. Yes they look beautiful. But just as important, are the individuals that surround these two. The community of family. Of friends. Of loved ones. Each representing love, suffering, sacrifice, fellowship, and encouragement. It never can be, nor will it be, just two individuals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve held onto the notion that holy matrimony is threefold. The foundation of Christ must be the vital part of a triangle relationship between man, woman, and God. If there is a foundation that exists in a human relationship, that far exceeds imperfection, then regardless of the flaws of character or the arguments that will inevitably arise, it will last. And even then, marriage isn’t the end of the road. Some will marry, while others will be called to a life of singleness. And that’s alright. There is love to be found even in the interactions one has with others. Regardless of whether it is a marriage relationship, or whether your “relationships” consist of these interactions, they simply make up one piece of a larger puzzle (after all… life can be quite puzzling). One component of a greater picture, which God continues to paint in each and every one of our lives.
Quia amasti me, fecisti me amabilem. ((Because You loved me, You made me lovable.))