For the very first time I can remember, I found an article which begins to embrace much of what I wish others knew about prolonged singleness. The January 2017 online edition of Christianity Today has an article, “Singleness is my Only Companion,” by Ekemini Uwan, a speaker and an MDiv degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. While she is in her lat 30s (and I am over twice her age – – – ) I can relate to much of what she writes.
“My perpetual state of singleness is an enigma, but it is not for lack of trying. I’m certainly not a hermit. I travel, take in festivals, go to events, enjoy concerts, and attend academic talks to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. I’ve even tried online dating, which only resulted in “situationshps” — those faux relationships that revolve on an axis of grey.”
I hasten to say that yea these many years of pondering my own singleness have not been fruitless. For instance, 28 years of being accompanist of an incredible community chorale led to opportunities to travel all over the world. Being able to share music in at least 20 countries brings many cherished memories. While we performed a great variety of music, performing the works which brought glory and honor to God still gives me goosebumps – – – Mozart and Haydn Requiems, sacred choral numbers, early American folk music and spirituals. One vivid memory is of a wonderful tenor walking to the middle of the stage in Shanghai, China, with a Bible and singing, “I’m gonna tell you ’bout the comin’ of the kingdom!” Wow!
Quite simply, when I play the piano, I feel His pleasure! This echoes a quote from Eric Liddell, the subject of the movie, “The Chariots of Fire:”
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast!
and when I run I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell
I can honestly say that I have finally come to a place of deep contentment with who I am. While there is not an adoring human companion, I have come to see that the God of the Bible is my ever-present Companion, Supplier of needs, Encourager, and Lover of my soul. He walks with me when I travel alone. He is in the process of rekindling my desire to dream, which includes touching people’s hearts with my writing. He smiles when I use my hands to make music and to do colorful needlework, and work at my computer. He rejoices with me as I finally get to THE LAST mortgage payment! Wooohooo!
At the same time, He leaves a man-shaped space in my heart because He made me for deep human relationship.
“. . . There is another dimension of heartbreak that comes into view when one is seen but not sought after.”
You might want to read that sentence again, noting the pain of never having been chosen. That grief is real. While I know there is deep grief in losing a spouse by any reason, there is also a different sort of deep grief for the one who feels the “loss of never having.”
Articles abound on “What wives wish their husbands knew they need,” and vice versa. They all seem to say the same things – deep love, respect, compassion, companionship, encouragement, help with housework, etc., etc., etc. What I never see there is that it is not just married couples who have these needs. I think they all boil down to just two things: Being heard and sharpened hearing skills, and comfortable companionship. Of course, there are a lot of bullet points. Having harmonious spiritual values would be at the top of my personal list. In short – – –
Everyone needs a cheerleader!
“I’ve come to hold all things loosely–including the good things I desire. As I get older, I realize that this unrequited desire may never be filled But I arrive at this conclusion with a peace that surpasses all human understanding and an inner resolve wrought by the Holy Spirit. I know that God promises to be “a sun and shield, the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11 ESV)