Loneliness on Valentine’s Day
As I sit here between stacks of folded laundry that need to be put away, still wearing my pajamas, thinking of how badly I want a nap, I decide to trash the blog posting I just wrote for Valentine’s Day. It was to single people who are having a hard time with the day. I decided I just didn’t feel good about posting it. It felt icky.
How can I address single people today, sitting in the comfortable home my husband has provided for me as this new life growing inside kicks and rolls and bumps me around? As my precious one-year old happily plays at her grandma’s house down the road? As my husband works downstairs to get the home project we’re doing to make room for baby #2 finished up? As I glance up to see a gorgeous bouquet of roses on the table and remember the loving cards I’ve already received today?
How can I even try to speak to the issue of loneliness?
A friend from church is on high alert today, hoping her first baby will be born soon. She’s been blogging about it and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying her candor and humor. I feel her eager expectation, that hint of fear around the edges as she gets ready for the unknown, and the overwhelming sense of joy that soon a new life will totally change hers. She’s really fun and we’re learning to quilt together under the instruction of our friend Jenny, an experienced quilter. Soon we’ll both have new babies and I’m not sure how the quilting lessons will go, but we’re going to give it a try!
I’m in a mom’s group at a local church where about 40 women gather once a month to support one another, learn, share, and grow. It’s taken me about a year to feel comfortable, but these last few meetings have been very rewarding. It’s a little lifeline, a safe place where I’m surrounded by many other pregnant women who are also dealing with the challenges of motherhood. I look forward to each meeting, getting to know the other members better, and learning something new from the speakers and mentor moms.
See? I’m making friends here.
I remember loneliness on Valentine’s Day, but the pain of it is gone. It’s hard to recall the dread I felt when I went to my awesome office at the job I loved, miserable to be reminded of my singleness while others received special tokens of love and I went home alone and ate pizza. I woke up this morning to baby kisses and giggles, little arms reaching up for me to hold her and tickle her belly. I felt how she needed me last night after we’d spent the day apart and no one but Mommy would do, the sweet way she nuzzled in and quietly fell asleep on my lap.
God has been tremendously good to me. After so many years of wondering why I was still single (what was WRONG with me?), the richness of life can sometimes overwhelm. Perfection isn’t the goal – just appreciation. Pregnancy is HARD on me, but I remind myself in stronger moments that 9 months of difficulty is nothing compared with a lifetime of reward. Sometimes we fight, get worn out, wonder at the strangeness of the person we made a covenant to spend forever with, cringe at the antics of the child who is half me and half him. But we work it out and I see the love shining in his eyes.
I see those hands that now carry great responsibility, arms that hold a sick child who can’t sleep alone, chest that bears the weight of my head when I can’t sleep, shoulders that work to provide for our family, heart that breaks for loved ones who are lost – and I feel like my heart will explode with love.
The thing is, there was NOTHING wrong with me when I was single. I didn’t need to be more godly, more settled, more anything… I was exactly who I needed to be already. All the “refinements” I made to myself during those years are lost on Rick. I think he would’ve loved me if he’d met me at 18 years old.
The only words of wisdom I have for those who are still lonely – whether single or married – is to throw open your arms and trust Jesus to fill them. Lift your loneliness up to Him. If He can do such a miracle in my life, I hope you can believe He’ll do such a miracle in yours as well.
I wish I could wrap my arms around all the lonely ones today and promise you great things for the future. I don’t know though. It may get worse before it gets better. It may take a long time to get better. Until then, I encourage you to LIVE.
I didn’t wait around for Rick. I had a great time with my friends, I loved their children, I got an education, and I spent my time doing jobs I found richly rewarding where I hoped I was making an impact in the world. Starting a blog where I could share my thoughts and experiences, embracing the calling I felt to become a writer, is where Rick and I finally intersected in a tangible way. I was running full-speed ahead, making the most of my single years. Marrying him gave my ability to make a career of writing a huge boost. It also provided me with the family I so desired. God preformed a miracle by giving me the love I needed in His perfect time.
God’s hand is in the delay as well as the delivery.
I still can’t tell you why it took so long for Rick and I to find one another. I can speculate, but then I think of how awesome God is and how He could’ve parted the waters to make a way for us to find each other. All I know is that He must’ve had a purpose in it. As we step forward into tomorrow, I can only believe that it all works together for good and we’ll understand it better by and by.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. I pray yours is full of love.