Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My So-Called Single Life

I purposely avoided posting anything on Facebook or Twitter--or here--yesterday. I didn't want to add my voice to the clamor of Valentine's Day posts. After all, there are few positive response options available to me as a single, Christian adult.
  • There's the Boycott: "Singles Awareness Day" (Come on! Do you really want to call it S.A.D.? That's just pathetic.)
  • Or we have Substitution: "Jesus is my valentine." (Right. No one's buying that.)
  • Denial is also popular: "Just waiting on God's timing." (Yes, but you're still just waiting.)
  • And of course, there's always the standby Act-Like-Nothing's-Happening: "Beautiful weather!" "Oh, look, a puppy!" "There sure are a lot of people in Wal-Mart today." (Need I say how obvious that one is?)
So, I opted out. {Now, I did celebrate...with my family. I got (and gave) cards, chocolate--even a cute balloon. And then, I babysat so my parents and my sister and brother-in-law could go on dates.} But, after watching the multitude of posts and comments ranging from the nauseatingly sentimental to the painfully bitter, I decided I would give you my true thoughts and feelings on single adulthood. (And, I do mean adulthood; if you are still under the age of 21, you have no idea what true singleness is.)

Thus, here you have the true account of how I, Kari Renee Yerton, age 30, single, Christian adult feel about being single.
  1. I HATE IT!
  2. I LOVE IT!
  3. My whole life is spent somewhere between these two extremes.
There, I said it. That is the whole, ugly secret. How I feel about my place in life changes daily, minute by minute:
  • I love being able to make decisions without needing to consult someone else.
  • I detest going to bed alone each night.
  • I enjoy having my own space and alone time.
  • I hate eating in restaurants by myself.
And so it goes...Each day, I will have moments of "Thank God, I'm single," and "This stinks!" If I want Mexican food, I eat Mexican food. If I want to go on a road trip, off I go. But, no matter how deeply I may long for someone to eat with or talk to as I drive, I can't make that happen.

This is where I feel the Church has failed its single adults. We're taught how to be in relationships, how to choose a partner, how to parent our children; but no one tells us how to be single. We're given pat lines of "Let Jesus fill that space in you," and "You have to be whole in Him before you can offer yourself to someone else." Well, that's just awesome, but what does it mean?

We are relational beings, created in the image of a God who is in constant triune companionship. The only time God said "Oops!" during creation was when he saw man was alone. And yet, I am made to feel guilty or less of a Christian for longing for and dreaming of that companionship. My newsflash is this: I'm not needy. I'm not desperate. I'm not lacking in faith. I AM HUMAN.

My humanity cries for companionship. My humanity craves physical touch. My humanity desires emotional connection. And it is my humanity that is being overlooked and ignored.

So, how do we balance our human needs with our spiritual life?

In my opinion, my don't have to "balance" them. They are both intrinsic parts of our makeup. God has made us to need one just as much as the other. The problem arises when we focus on one to the exclusion of the other. Christians and non-Christians alike make this mistake. One side tries to build spirituality without humanity, and the other focuses on humanity without spirituality. To be healthy, we must build both sides of ourselves. Here, we strike a conundrum.

I'll follow up on this thought a little more later, but for now, just be thinking about how you/we/I have been taught to ignore or downplay our human side because it's not "spiritual" enough. My reminder to you is that Jesus' favorite name for himself was "Son of Man." I think that would be significant.



Sometimes I wonder if I am invisible.
Can you hear me? Am I real?
Is it possible I live only in me?
Maybe this is all in my imagination.
Maybe this is all a dream.

How do you know what is life?
How do you see? How do you learn?
When does the real become life lived?
How does the dream find reality?
Who can teach the skeptic to love?

Why does love always evade?
When is it real? Who does it touch?
Why can I not grasp the cord and live?
How could I drop out so easily?
Why does no one catch me before I fall?

Sometimes I wonder if I am invisible.

--Kari Yerton

1 comment:

  1. First of all, love the new header!!

    Secondly, really great post. I totally agree with the fact that the Church has failed single adults in a big way. I'm certainly not saying that I have the answer though. I think most of us married folk wish that we did, but we just don't know exactly how to help/encourage/etc. in this dept. I so wish it weren't that way. I know Vince and I have discussed this at length in the past and this post will probably bring more discussion. I'm really glad you posted it.