Thursday, March 24, 2011

Could It Be? (Stella)

Whenever I experience a break-up I go through the normal stages of grief which inevitably have me turning to the scriptures and prayer for comfort and solace. I'm ashamed to admit that my most notable times of gospel feasting are almost always on the heels of having my heart broken.

In true Stella fashion I have been delving into the scriptures, our Prophets words, and any other gospel resource I can get my hands on as I struggle to find the answers to my why, why, whys? I should add that my feasting is usually accompanied by a lot of foot stomping, wailing and gnashing of angry teeth...which of course makes divine revelation a little difficult to come by. This time however - I must have matured since my last soiree.

I came across something today while reading in Alma that made me wonder - could being a single member of the LDS church at this time, during these last days be a calling? Is it possible that some of us experience singleness because we were asked to experience it during our mortal journey? That just like some are foreordained to be Prophets or pioneers are some of us called to be single for a period of time?

I'm not talking about 20 something singleness - I'm talking about being single WAY past the LDS norm of 20...or whatever it is these days. I'm talking about singleness that has you laying on your bathroom floor, sobbing into a pile of kleenex doubting every decision you've ever made and semi-convincing yourself that somehow you've brought this great scourge on your head through a Sodom and Gomorrah level atrocity.

I took this thought a bit further and realized the STRENGTH that it takes to be an active, faithful, single member of the church. I've heard it said that 50% of singles become inactive when they leave their YSA wards, and I recently heard at a stake meeting that my stake alone has over 3,000 mid-singles in it (men more then double the women. My jaw is still on the floor.)

So between the 50% and the 3000 in my little corner of the world how many of our brothers and sisters does this add up to? Even one is too many - but I think my point is easily proven by how many times we're admired by others. For example how many times has someone said something like..."I admire you so much," "You are so strong", or my personal favorite - "I don't know how you do it, I know I never could."

As I've let this idea roll around in my mind today I realize how much my ward blesses my life and how much they love and support me BUT I also realize how I may have a very special, singular influence that may make some of my sisters more grateful for their husbands and children, may inspire some to magnify their particular life calling, and may even be an example to the youth of staying faithful when you don't feel you fit in. Yes - being a single member of the LDS faith where we celebrate and promote families and eternal marriages in every breath is well.. NO PLACE FOR SISSIES!

That said - does it make you feel a little special, a little strong, a little chosen and set apart to be single? For so many of us who have not chosen to be single, who would marry tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself - I have to wonder if we would walk a little taller and hurt a little less if we looked at this life 'predicament' (regardless of how we got here) as a calling?

If we stopped to think of the faith, strength, and ENDURANCE that we go through our life with. How we continue to move forward without the help of a companion, striving to be faithful despite heartache that sometimes feels like it will end us? That this season of life (and I pray it ends tomorrow for all of us who desire righteous companions to create forever families with) is our calling because we are strong, faithful, and the ones the Lord knew He could count on to keep going. He knows what we can carry and He knows what we can't. I just have to wonder...

Could it be?


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you. I married at a "normal" LDS age, and am now in my 30s and have LDS friends that are still single. I totally LOOK UP to them for their positive attitudes and fulfilling lives.

I admire them for staying strong in their faith, for keeping the law of chastity, and for going to church when the focus is often on marriage/kids.

I often think that if I had not met my Dh, I could so easily be in their shoes. How would I react to being single and past 30? I don't know exactly...I am pretty sure though that I would be bitter and jealous and not a very nice person to be around.

I think being single in the church takes some seriously STRONG faith. Even though singles are promised marriage in the next life, we as mortals cannot really see, feel, or understand what the next life will be like. So to take it all on faith alone...that is amazing to me. And to keep going to church and loving and serving your ward even when you feel you are missing out on a "big" blessing...that is very Christ-like.

Michelle N Lurvey said...

I know that I am realivity "young" at 28, but I am beginning to see why I have been single, and realizing its the Lords time table and not mine. one of my friends who is a very years older than me and myself came up with the term A2. As a joke, that we are going to be apostle second wives, hence A2. Its a silly thing, but it helps keeps things in check.

Anonymous said...

I never have really had a desire to get married. I've been near engagement 4 times. Ring all picked out two on their knees while in my head I liked the idea of a wedding, the idea of marriage was not something I longed for. I went on my mission engaged but fully aware that it would never work out. The guilt of him writing me was too much to bear so I finally wrote him off 6 months before I came home. I quickly was in a relationship with someone else once I returned. A nice man with good intentions. He moved to quickly so I ended it but then I had this fear of being alone. I'm now 25 and was preached too quite intensely on my mission that marriage is righteous and desirable. I have the righteous aspect down but that desirable part has been really slow coming. I got back with him which was a mistake, I was miserable and my journal can attest to that. Even with "my" wedding ring currently residing in his apartment I still know that being single is better then being with someone who makes you unhappy. I've loved the single life. I enjoy dating, flirting, and even nights spent reading a book. Throughout this process I have learned that I needed a testimony of marriage. I needed to stop running away from it and face it head on as it is my Goliath. I now want to get married. I want to share my life with someone who is dear to my heart, and kind. I want babies! Now that I want marriage. I need to respect it and stop talking ill about it. God will probably make me wait for marriage. I need to really appreciate it and if I would have been married at 20, 21, 23, or 25 I would have not appreciated the sanctity of marriage. God has His plans and he's working them with me. I love your blog and hope that I have the same faith, strength, and hope that you have when I might be 30 and unmarried and it be the greatest desire of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Just ran across this blog. Interesting post--I've often thought about how we singles who remain active are strong and know how to endure. But as for myself, I'm not sure that means I have great faith. Being single for so long (I'm 41) has greatly tested my faith. I've received numerous priesthood blessings promising me marriage, and my patriarchal blessing has lots of promises regarding children and the happiness I will find within my family. There's nothing in there about my remaining single and childless, and yet that has been the greatest struggle of my life. It's like half of my blessing was written for somebody else. It makes me doubt the validity of priesthood blessings, including patriarchal blessings, altogether. So, yeah, remaining single for so long has not been good for my faith. (I wish somebody here would do a post on patriarchal blessings, by the way. I know lots of singles struggle with this issue.)

Anne Elliot said...

Thank you for this post. I agree, it takes a lot of strength to remain active. And sometimes it helps to think that I am chosen and set apart for this because I can handle it. But at the same time, there are times when I am SO TIRED of being the strong one. It is exhausting trying to remain positive and upbeat and happy and active! Some times I want to give up and be the weak one for once.