Single and overjoyed! – guest post

There’s this running joke in my family about my love life. Not a joke necessarily, but it seems that almost every time I talk with my parents or to cousins that I haven’t talked to in a while or other relatives, at some point in the conversation I get hit with: “so who’s the boyfriend?” Sometimes I stare blankly at them and then burst into laughter. Sometimes I say some smart comment like: “Jesus.” Sometimes I roll my eyes playfully and say there is no one. Sometimes I also get annoyed because there’s so much more to my life than my love interest, but at the end of the day, I know that they ask because they want to see me happy and building my little life with the one God has set aside for me.

That being said, I absolutely love this period of singleness with which God has graced me. Let me repeat that. I LOVE being single. I am 22 and have never been in a serious relationship, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am and never have been ashamed of this. These are not the thoughts of some desperate girl comforting herself with nice sentiments. This is a fact. I absolutely love being single. Nor are these the thoughts of a bitter woman scorned one too many times by men who still have some growing up to do. I’ve had my share of heart aches and tears, but I still believe in love and happily ever after.

What I mean to say is, there is grace here in this time of my life, more than I recognize and more than I can understand with this little human brain of mine. Although grace is defined in a various ways, I mean to say that right now as a young single woman, I have a unique opportunity to love and serve my neighbors and to be in communion with God in a way that just isn’t possible otherwise.

I love my singleness for many different reasons. Practically speaking, my time isn’t tied up to another. Although I have responsibilities to my family and to my community, I am free to spend my time how I wish for the most part. For example, my work schedule keeps me fairly busy, but this Lent I made a commitment to attend daily mass every day, and I plan on continuing that, even after Easter. To attend daily mass is something my mother did in her 20s, and I’ve always dreamed of doing the same since I was little girl. Now I get to do that. I have the freedom to spend my time with my friends and family and build those relationships, without worry that I’m neglecting my significant other. Also, I can bum it out for days on end without worrying that my physical appearance is unattractive to my crush. Eventually, I get my act together because societal standards and whatnot.

But more importantly, being single allows me the gift of getting to know who I am, defining who I want to be, and falling in love with both of those women, flaws and all. This is not to say that can’t be done when you’re taken. Plenty of women do it. I just mean that you have so much more time and energy to devote to that singular and pivotal task as a single woman. Furthermore, this is THE perfect time to do so because (at least for me) when I meet my future husband (if that is in fact my vocation) I want to be at a spiritual and emotional state that allows me to love him completely and selflessly with all of my being, holding nothing back. I can’t do that if I still struggle with loving myself. So, in this period of singleness, I love the time I spend getting to know all of my little quirks and my strengths and my weaknesses. I love getting to spend time with family and friends and getting to know all of their little quirks and their strengths and weaknesses (and obsessing about how amazing they all are).

Above all, I love being single because I’ve realized that I am fulfilled, WITHOUT a romantic interest in my life. I have a good job that keeps me busy. I participate in activities that cultivate my God-given skills and talents. I have family that love me and support me. I have friends that can send me into laughing fits for hours and that I can call on day or night when I’m struggle busing. I belong to a community that I can joyfully serve. My cup is overflowing with blessings. My heart is full of joy. My soul is at peace and content. See the thing is, our society does a great job of lying to everyone and saying that romantic relationships are necessary in order to be happy and fulfilled. Movies, TV shows, and ads paint the tale that romantic relationships are the pinnacle of all relationships. But it is a LIE. Fulfillment comes when we recognize our purpose and love and serve those around us. Happiness comes when we choose to be positive and hold on to hope even in the face of the storms of our lives. Joy comes when we maintain balance in our lives and choose to be grateful. Peace comes when we remember that all of our sorrows are temporary and that one day we all have a shot at tasting the sweet miracles of heaven. All of this we are able to do with or without a romantic interest in our lives. Having that special someone isn’t a necessity that will ruin our lives if we don’t have it, it’s the cherry on top of an already fulfilled and happy life.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a romantic at heart, so of course every now and again I wish there was someone special with whom I could share all of my joys and sorrows. Of course I have those days when I think about why it didn’t work out with so and so and get sad about it. Of course, I send texts to my friends, half joking, half serious saying things like #foreveralone and #singleforlife. But in the words of one of my favorite artists, Tori Kelly, “I’d love to have a soulmate, and God will give him to me someday. But I know it’ll be worth the wait.” I may be ready for that long-term serious relationship and want it, but I just have to be patient. I just have to let God write the epic love story He’s been drafting before I was even conceived. Because my God wants nothing but the best for His children. He gives them the cherry, the whip cream, the chocolate syrup, AND the sprinkles on top.

It is in this time that my heart is the most open for God to shape and mold me into the Proverbs 31 woman He longs for me to be, into the saintly woman He has called me to be. And what a gift it is! I praise God that I get to have it. I don’t know how long this period will last, but I am honestly in no rush to see it end. I love my singleness. I love the freedom of growing into a woman of whom I can be proud, into the woman who exemplifies the virtues that my parents have spent my entire life instilling in me, into the woman whom my future husband will someday vow to love and cherish for the rest of his days (again, if that is my vocation).

So, to all of my single ladies, embrace this time. Cherish it. Enjoy it. For when the time comes, God will send that beautiful man that will like it and boldly put a ring on it.



To write about love

It’s impossible to write about love. To represent it in words would be not only a task unachievable, but seems simply almost a wrong to the love itself, a diminishing of it. It appears feasible and the strange, intense urge to make the love known, both to have everybody around me know that such a love exists and to have Tim know how loved he is, creates the illusion for me that it’s something I can make known. But when I try to fathom its existence into words, to breathe (breathe seems an exaggerative word, but love is living and must be) the true essence of it into a sentence, it just isn’t possible. Not only in some abstract way, for myself, but also, in any way which can really show him what this state of being is, what it gives to me, what it does for me, how it transforms me. How in any way which would do it justice, can you write about love? I don’t mean love in the solely romantic, jittery feelings sort of way (although this is an important part of it). I mean love in the I give up my life for you, to serve your needs, to bear our children, to live every day desiring to make your value in my eyes and the eyes of God known to you sort of way.

I feel this deep desire to tell him every day that I love him, that he is appreciated, that the beginning of this union of our souls which I know will be eternal is everything for me. Every moment it’s what my soul longs to express as it experiences it. We take love for granted, I think. We live the beginning parts of our lives (and for some, our whole lives) imagining that this kind of deep communion is possible, but once it comes for those of us for whom it does come, we greet it and are amazed for some time and then it simply is. We go on living, now with the love, but do we stand in amazement? What a mystery! A mystery as profound as God, if God truly is love as I believe and have been told. And if something is so profound, how can I for any space of time take it for granted? How can I just accept Tim as a part of my life and of myself and not be with him, not be amazed by him? I mean being in the same sense we use it to mean living in the present with God. Being in its deepest sense. Truly being human. If we live in this state of true being, of real humanity, then we have to live in a state of amazement, recognizing the being of the person we love, their humanity, the profoundness of experiencing their soul in an intimate inexplicable way.

I imagine heaven as a state of being in which we are in eternal and profound ecstasy at the amazement of experiencing God. I think we lose that amazement as we grow older. When we’re young, everything is new and everything we experience is a new thing to learn and comprehend and assimilate into our lives and our understanding of the world. From words and language to relationships to flowers to animals to planets and poetry and history. When we first experience the world, we are amazed by it. And then, it’s just the world. We stop standing in amazement of God. I think the same thing happens for our experience of love, but even more importantly for our experience of the person being loved, my experience of Tim.  We start to simply accept its existence, rather than being amazed. And of course, I fear it more after having been with him for 50 years, than I do now, yet still it happens now too. But I think, at least for me, my deep and mostly constant desire to make my experience of his being known and understood, especially by him, but also by myself and by others, is my soul’s reaction against this trend toward mere assimilation. In other words, I think my soul wants so badly for this incredible experience, (the experience not only of another person, but of him experiencing me and of sharing each other’s experience with one another), my soul (because God loves me) wants so badly for this experience to be what it really should be, that it attempts to refuse simply accepting my love of Tim and by Tim, rather than wondering at it as a state of being, and it attempts this by a desire to tell Tim just how much I love him…because the fact that I love him and that he loves me is an incredible phenomenon. It’s a glimpse into God and trying to make this known, or at least the desire of doing this, is my soul’s way of reminding me that love is an amazing thing. It’s a physical experience, as much as a spiritual. A surging and tightening of my heart, feeling like I’m too big for my body. When I think about him, there is as much a reaction from my body as from my soul (“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20)

I think it’s something so profound that its very existence in the present moment must suffice. It can’t be experienced in the future because before we have it, we can’t imagine it the way it truly turns out to be. It can’t be experienced truly in the past because once we lose the love, just like any memory, it would fade and be distorted. It must be lived in the present. Love should be a constant attempt to bring ourselves to that state of true humanity where we dwell in the present amazed at existence. That’s why writing about it, or trying to put it into words seems in a way wrong or at least deceiving to me. Because love is something that in its ideal and perfection should be an experience of the present, a state of being with the person, as it is with God. And still, I want so badly to express in words for Tim how amazing he is to me, how much he gives me meaning, how profound my experience of him is.

Fr. Carsten said to me in confession that even if this love doesn’t continue, although he hopes it does, it is a beautiful, wonderful gift that must be appreciated now and how wonderful is it for me to be able to experience it. He’s right. How awesome is it to be in love? It’s awesome! As in awe-inspiring. We say those words all the time. But do we keep that in the forefront of our experience? Do we really recognize the gift the other person is to us? A gift. From God. Something given voluntarily to us without its being earned, deserved, or merited. The gift of an experience, a transformation, a unity.

Do I recognize its profundity?