|Leitha, on a recent trip to Haiti|
Newly retired after a 34-year career in teaching, Leitha is enjoying more time to train for foot races, travel, paint at home and church, volunteer, and much more. Her favorite activities include getting a full nightâ€™s rest and spending time with her four furry children.
At a young age, God inspired and nurtured Leithaâ€™s love for disabled children. She recently discovered a new outlet for that passion in a place she never imaginedâ€”Haiti.
A Few Thoughts On What It’s Like Being Single in a Married World.
Or, What I Want to Share with Married People About Being Single.
I used to think I was justified to go into my occasionally pity party of being alone and having noone there for me. Asking God, Why, as tears ran down my face; Why do I not have someone with whom to share my life? Someone who has my back? But now, I no longer feel justified having those pity parties.
I lean on Jesus to work through them.
I could make a very long list of examples of how Jesus showed up in a person when I needed one–even before my heart was able to comprehend what He was doing. One example would be when my mom died at the age of 87. Everyday that she was in hospice either my cousin or a friend was there. When she died, various friends stopped by to help pack up her things and load them into my car. I can also take you back to when my dad died when I was 14-years old. My best friend sat right next to me the entire wake. After the funeral she came back to my home to be with me. I have never been alone when it really matters. A friend has always shown up to stand by my side.
Itâ€™s taken a lot of work to get to the place where I truly grasped that God is and was there, and will provide a person, if necessary. When I finally grasped that, a great sense of relief and release overcame me.
With that said, there are a few things I want to share about what it’s like being single in a married world…
- â€œAre you married?â€ is often the first question I am asked. Or, â€œwhat does your husband do?â€ â€œWhat about your kids?â€
- For some reason the fact that I was married for two years changes how I am viewed. I sense a little more acceptance in that I am divorced and not â€œjust single.â€ It may not be intentional, but thereâ€™s something wrong with that.
- I do not understand why married and single people have to be on two different teamsâ€”separate bible studies within the church, etc. Just because I am single does not mean I only want to hang out with singles. I want all kinds of friends who are like-minded and emotionally healthy.
- I get tired of hearing married people compete about how tired, stressed, and hectic they areâ€¦which implies that I could, in no way, have these experiences. When I worked 2-3 jobs to make ends meet and was working on my Masters and beyond, I was tired. I also have laundry, grocery shopping, house cleaning, bills, weekend work, home work, and other responsibilities. Believe it or not, I get exhaustion.
- I mourned when my friends got married and began their families. I was happy for them, but it felt as though having a single friend no longer fit into their lifestyle. Their new friendships were formed with women in play groups or with parents at their childrenâ€™s schools. Their lives were too busy to fit one more thing. That THING was ME!
- I get annoyed with the jealous comments about my ability to travel. First of all, for a long time I could not afford to travel since I also had to pay for things like my education, car, and mortgage until I was in my late forties. Also, my dreams and goals in life are things Iâ€™d pursueâ€”married or single. Yes, I thought my life would include marriage and children. But, more than that, I dreamed of a yellow house, cats, dogs, two or three kids, adoption, being a stay-at-home mom and a freelance artist. I had to accept otherwise. I was to be content and grateful for what my life was. All that to say, the jealous comments about my freedom in singleness are stabs to my heart. I would gladly give up the ability to travel to have a child.
- I am offended when newly-divorced or widowed women all of a sudden become interested in being my friend. An adult male at church who has a divorced mom recently told me I should be friends with his mom. When I asked why? Because she is single like you. SCREAM! So the attitude continues on.
- Iâ€™m an aunt, but being an aunt does not seem to â€œcount.â€ Maybe because itâ€™s not a 24/7 job, unless your niece or nephew lives with youâ€¦But, I would assume even the married with children understand the importance of aunts and uncles.
- By the way, the only person who reminds me to lock the door and get the keys is me. The only person who is going to buy me a diamond is me. The only person who is going to surprise me with flowers is me. The only person who cares about my health is me. The only person who takes out the garbage is me. The only person who hears about my good day is me. The only person who hears about my bad day is me. The only person who plunges the toilet is me. The only one who takes care of me when I am sick is me. If something happened to me, when would it be noticed?
- In my thirties and forties, men were shocked by the level of education I have and by the fact that I did not stop pursuing my goals while waiting for a husband. I guess if a really wanted a husband, I should have put my goals on hold to appear more needy. Men wanting an independent woman is NOT the norm; Independent enough so that we donâ€™t stop them from following their desires, but not independent in reaching our own goals. Itâ€™s sad that even though God has gifted women and put passions in our hearts, we are expected to be put those gifts on hold to be more attractive to men.
- As for the Church, I have seen too many women become widowed, divorced, or have an unemployed or disabled husband. They became frantic about how to take care of the household financially. They had no understanding of handling the bills. Iâ€™d like the church to shed some light on what it means to be family to single people.
- Itâ€™s sad when the Church expects women to tolerate abuse, addiction and affairs. Also, we often hear about mom’s, dad’s, and family from the pulpit, but when it comes to singleness, it is usually only included in a sermon about sex. I would love to hear the church talk more about the loneliness of being single from the pulpit, and to preach about the gift of being singleâ€”that it isn’t a curse.
- I wish the Church would remind others to include the singles in everything.
I am now at a place in life where I’m beyond contentment. I love being single. I see it as a blessing. I pray that one day our culture and church can say the same. Let’s begin to bring honor to singleness, as it is a gift from God.