I recently attended a retreat focusing on "Journeying With Jesus in Our Singleness." The 14 women in attendance ranged in age from 26 to 73. We represented something of the gamut of the single experience: the not yet married, the divorced, single moms raising kids, single moms whose kids
have left home, and the never married. Some of us were new Christians, others were old-timers in the church. We shared a common struggle: how to deal with the aloneness and resulting pain that come from not having a committed partner with whom to share life.
Some of us had tried to resolve that dilemma by settling for temporary relationships of sexual intimacy, often with less than healthy partners. Some of us had broken through to a deep contentment and settledness with our single status and hadn’t worked real hard to try to change that. Some of us were fully involved in the ups and downs of the dating scene. Others would like to be married but felt stuck about how to make it happen. But all of us could admit to having our tough times with singleness. In a time of directed meditation, we were challenged to open ourselves more fully to the deep, intimate, unfailing love offered to each one of us by Jesus—daring to believe that it’s real and trustworthy and not an unsatisfactory "consolation prize" for those who are unmarried.
I HAVE RESISTED that challenge at many points in my life. In my 20s, when peers in community were meeting and marrying mates, finding a husband was my preferred solution for meeting my needs for acceptance and intimacy. As I got into my 30s and realized marriage was not about to come along and bail me out of the need to figure out what to do with my life, my vocation took on more importance.