No Sugarcoating It- Singlehood is Meant to Be Painful

photo credit: 7D-Kenny via photopin cc

photo credit: 7D-Kenny via photopin cc

As much as I have been appreciating the blessings of singlehood and the great gift of time to prepare for an awesome marriage, this time in my life is still admittedly hard. And it should be. Love desires to give a full gift of self, and for me that fullness is cut short–incomplete. A marriage mirrors the fullness of the Trinity. It is love giving love to the highest degree, to the point of creating love incarnate. There is a deep union of beings. And until that love is realized, or whenever there is a barrier to this fulfillment of love, there is pain. And so for the single person there is pain.

There must be, because our being cries out to be in union with another, not islands. We want to bear our souls to another and be completely accepted, and to have someone do the same for us. This can only completely happen in our eventual union with God, but on Earth, for many people our close vocation is marriage–the promise of union with another in a lifelong, life-giving way. No matter what the vocation of the single person, we long for union. It is the way God designed us. We cannot be satisfied until our gift of self is complete.

So I am not afraid to admit that this part of my life is painful anymore. This blog isn’t meant to be a search for a painless singlehood, and I will certainly not contend that there is something wrong with those who still see singlehood as a source of pain, like if they would only look on the bright side and stop being so selfish everything would feel better. No. There is nothing wrong with you. It is kind of freeing to know this.

However, my cousin said something the other night that made me think. She is living her singlehood right now searching for a job opportunity with a dance company, and she told me that this transition time in between college and obtaining that job is difficult for her. But she was meditating on the passage in Scripture where Peter has a vision of a sheet coming down before him containing animals that were previously considered unclean in Jewish tradition. (Acts 10:9-19) “Eat!” he was commanded. And Peter refused to eat. “Surely not, Lord!” he said. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” Three times this happened. And God told Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

This isn’t the traditional way to read this passage, but my cousin determined that it could relate to her own life in that God had declared her single life clean, or good. And who was she to call it unclean or refuse to accept it, even though it was hard? We have a lot of uncertainty, hard transitions, and painful waits at this time in our lives. But this is not something to run away from or even convince ourselves that we are being selfish for feeling. If in prayer you feel that God wants you to be single right now, accept it out of love knowing God has a plan. It’s a real pain, but a good pain. Don’t continue believing the pain of your single life is “unclean” or something you can or should avoid. Trust. Take and eat what God has called clean.

photo credit: JohnCrider via photopin cc

photo credit: JohnCrider via photopin cc

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One response to “No Sugarcoating It- Singlehood is Meant to Be Painful

  1. Whether single-hood seeking marriage, single -hood seeking priesthood, single-hood seeking consecrated life and single-hood seeking single-hood are vocations in their own right and are created by God for a purpose endowed with graces to fulfill and be fulfilled in that state of life. In my own experience there certainly is pain involved in trying to be holy. Inordinate desires can confuse God’s Plan for our lives by having us desire things or people who aren’t good for us. Whole fields of study have gone down the path of transgression because of impurity and following a desire for desire sake. While not always easy, our true vocation has a peace about it if we accept and embrace it. Our destiny is with God and abandoning ourselves to Him Can take the sting of our discouragement in our vocations away, by uniting and offering our fears, questions, urgings, intellect and desires to God Who fulfills what is incomplete in us and brings us perfect wholeness, unity, love, meaning, peace and fulfillment.

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