HOW does one take delight or pleasure in being single, when we are made for union with an other?
The loneliness we experience in this time is not so much emptiness as is it a stirring of desire that awaits fulfilment.
We become restless for romance.
When we fall in love, that special person consumes our every thought and being. And we come to believe that we simply cannot live without them.
You could imagine how much more of a cross this would be to bear, when one makes a resolution to be single for a year like I did.
Whenever someone attractive came along, it felt like I was a bound rabbit and God was constantly dangling a carrot in front of my face that I couldn’t have.
Then one day I came across these words: “Be the friend that your friend’s future spouse would be grateful for.”
At first, this seemed like a cruel joke.
The idea of giving of myself without expecting anything in return made me fear becoming a doormat that people would step on, on their way to becoming closer to Christ. With none of my own desires ever being met.
Our desire to be loved is certainly good and should not be diminished.
However, I have learnt that we cannot expect our lives to be unfulfilled until we meet, or “possess, that one person.
In John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, the experience of original solitude precedes, yet goes hand in hand with original unity.
Adam realises that he is set apart from the rest of creation for God.
Through his solitude, God reveals to Adam his capacity for self determination and invites him as partner to cultivate and transform the earth.
We learn through this that only God can fulfill and broaden our sense of self. In anticipation of our vocations, we can learn to discern the different ways and people that God puts in our lives to draw us out of ourselves.
It surprised me to see that instead of ‘losing’ myself in the process of giving, being with people who allow me to serve them through my gifts and passions has instead given me the freedom to become more alive.
Instead of demanding to be the apple of another’s eye, I could step aside and allow the both of us to walk in freedom, side by side, towards the same goal. It has filled me with a spirit of awe at God’s generosity, not just at what He has given me but also what He has given to others.
To summarise, I will use the words of John Paul II: “Do not be afraid of getting lost: the more we give of ourselves, the more we will find ourselves”.
Enjoying single life is to trust that when we give ourselves, God will never be outdone in generosity.
To anticipate that He can, and will work wonders, even if He takes us to places where we would rather not be.
By Kamila Soh