i have a friend who has wrestled with God for a really long time about being single. at one point, he truly felt that the Lord was asking him to surrender his dreams for a family, and learning to live in the tension between honestly wanting to surrender and yet not being super-happy about it was difficult for him. we were talking about it one night, and he asked me what i thought, and i found myself saying, without really thinking about it, “i just wish the Church had given you a better story.”
but as i heard myself say it, i knew it rang true. a better story – to believe in, to hope for – would have made the struggle a very different experience.
the story that is painted for us, from the time we are very small, is this: “…and they lived happily ever after. the end.”
it’s reinforced as we grow up by playground rhymes: “…sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…”
and then we get to college, and people really do start pairing off, falling in love, getting married, and having babies.
and those of us who – for whatever reason – didn’t get married… we are left wondering: “is it me? is there something wrong with me?”
we don’t always think that way, and we don’t always feel bad about it. but in those late night moments when it would be really nice to have someone to talk to, or in those horrible moments when an unexpected bill shows up, or when there are just everyday details like how to buy a car or sell a house or what to do next in our careers, and having someone to sort it out with us would be the best thing ever… those are the moments in which we ask the hard (and often wrong) questions.
“what did i do wrong? why am i alone?”
and the loneliness can choke us.
we’re going to talk more later on in this series about giving the Church a better story – but in the meantime…
can i just say this one thing?
i don’t just mean all the however-true-but-nevertheless-cliché things people mean when they say you’re not alone. i don’t mean that God is with you and that everything is going to be okay, that it isn’t always going to be like this, or that people are praying for you. all of those things are probably true, especially the part about God being with you. but knowing it doesn’t always help.
sometimes you just need someone to take you in.
someone with living breath in their lungs, expelled to tell you that it will be okay. someone who is smarter than you are. someone who can buy your groceries or watch your kid or help you pack when you have to move. someone with warm hands to hold your icy cold ones. someone to hold you while you cry, or cheer you on while you take down that one last seemingly unsurmountable hurdle between you and a whole new better life.
sometimes you just need family.
the kind of family who shows up even tho they’re not related. who meets the needs you have and allows you to meet theirs. the kind of family that just adopts you into their lives, as is, without apology – and expects the same from you. the kind of family who are the hands and feet of Jesus to you, who share their stuff and give up their time because they know you need them to, and that you would do the same for them if you could. the kind of family who really doesn’t care that you could never pay them back.
we are not always going to get it right, this trying-to-be-like-Jesus thing, this trying-to-be-a-better-family thing. we are not always going to succeed in proving to each other that we are not alone – we will forget to show up, to check in, to ask about each others’ days.
but that does not mean we should not try.
God is with us.
He is with us…
He has given us each other.
and we are not alone.
Simple Felicity is, at its heart, a blog based on the unshakeable belief that happiness really isn't all that complicated. Sometimes finding it can be - but happiness itself is pretty simple, and it's often found in the simplest of things: good food, good books, and good company. So those are the things I write about, along with a few other things that really matter to me, including faith and feminism.
A bit about me: My name is Happy. I have an amazing talent for misplacing my keys, a deep appreciation for whomever looked at the coffee bean and thought, "Hey, I wonder what would happen if I roasted this?", and road trips to Michigan are pretty much my favorite.
Contact me anytime at simplefelicity7 (at) gmail (dot) com! I'd love to hear from you.
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." —Helen Keller via @momentumdash
"Watch carefully the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves." —Atticus via @momentumdash
"Failure is success if we learn from it." —Malcolm Forbes via @momentumdash
"Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." —Ian Maclaren via @momentumdash
The long, dark, and extremely chilly days of late autumn/early winter are finally creeping into the city. ow.ly/xp2v30gCmwg
There's something beautifully compelling and yet simultaneously awful about rainy fall days in New York. ow.ly/ARkH30gdy2c
"Make the most of the best and the least of the worst." —Robert Louis Stevenson via @momentumdash
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