“Hey I’m Sarah, and I’ve been single for 23 years.”
No this is not an introduction to some weird group therapy session for the ‘perpetually single’, but it can sometimes feel as if being single is stamped across your forehead in big ugly red text. This can especially feel the case if you’ve been single for a while, or indeed have never progressed past a third date with anyone. Other times, my singleness comes as a surprise to others. ‘Why?’ They ask, ‘But you’re so nice?’ Others say (as if reaching a degree of niceness automatically ensures you a boyfriend, like some kind of perk when reaching level 5 on Pokémon GO). I usually mumble out a half laughed response about not having met anyone I could consider dating yet. In truth however, it’s not that I haven’t met anyone, but rather God hasn’t planned for me to meet anyone just yet.
Recently I travelled to Sydney to attend their first annual Catholic Singles Conference (don’t worry I’m backing for a name change next year; here’s to hoping ‘Catholic Tinder’ gets a look in), and attended two weddings of some very dear friends. These events, combined with some great conversation with friends, prayer and mass, have led to some deeper insights into my life.
I’ve come to realise that God really does have it sorted. That the ‘Relax. God’s in charge.’ poster I was given in year 12 really does hold meaning. It’s through this trust, that I am happier today than I have been in a very long time. As with trust there comes peace. I’m not saying it’s easy. But I am saying that persistent prayer, even when you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, and a desire to constantly better oneself for God will reap the fruits of grace.
It can be so very tempting, when friends are forming beautiful relationships, becoming engaged or getting married to feel resentful. To feel like God is denying you something you’ve been wanting for so long. But keep praying and turn to the Mass for solace.
And then after mass, head out with a good friend and a glass of wine to laugh at life’s anomalies together. I look back at certain times in my life and chuckle at the goodness that has been handed to me. Given like a father surprising his child with a gift from a faraway land. I could never have fathomed the adventures I’ve been on, never dreamed of the people I’ve met and now love, and could never have imagined the current path of life that I’m on. I can only hold my breath in excited anticipation for the man I will one day meet, and call my husband.
There are plenty of challenges to come I know, and times when I will shy away in fear from what God has placed in front of me. But I know just as firmly that with the intersession of Saints and Mary our Mother, God will grant me much more than my heart could ever have desired. So keep reading widely, living life spontaneously, singing unashamedly and in the wise words of Florence + The Machine “run fast for your (heavenly) Mother, run fast for your (heavenly) Father.”