“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man…” [Insert Mormon singles parodies, parallels, jokes because let’s be honest- we’ve heard them all].
Singles wards. Two small words evoke a rush of stories, opinions, sighs, smiles, and eye rolls among Latter-day singles. Either that or *cricket *cricket silence. Silence engulfed in bewilderment or indifference.
If you want to take it one step further, get crazy and start a discussion about mid-singles wards. As a member of one of them, I can attest that like the wards themselves (most numbering in between 500-800 people), the hallways, doors, hearts, and minds are bursting with equal parts success, potential, broken stories, and tangled expectations.
I have read blogs, bashings, and hopeful preaching on the bloggernacle-and-other-ospheres. Some logic sticks while other philosophies fall short. I am saturated. I feel we have turned into hamsters- spinning our wheels grasping to anecdotal oddities and guilt ridden annoyance.
But. I have felt fine, even rooted unity alongside those moments of frustrated indifference.
And I wonder– aside from the natural ebb and flow of life what makes the difference? Why do I get up, try and look presentable and go to church? Because honestly, I don’t always love going. I know this is not exclusive to being single, but that many regardless of marital status have their thing that pokes and pricks inside.
Sundays seem to let opposing sensations bloom and bruise with more potency.
So then, what is that ball of little golden light that beams and dims and pushes us onward?
I’ve found in its distilled simplicity to be relationships.
Here’s the deal. For me, the Us. vs. Them mentality is the source of apathy. It cant be Singles vs. Marrieds. Old vs. Young. Liberal vs. Conservative. Yes, it feels that way at times, but can we all just be members? One part of the body of Christ? To seek connection with Christ and one another is my light and my why. Easier said than done, but to capitalize on a good phrase, knowing is half the battle.
I recently met Ali Parrish, a single woman who is charming, positive, fun, and centered. Her ideas and writings resonate with me and others in this particular season of life. In one of her posts she tackles this very idea.
In her post, she articulates my thoughts best with the following excerpt.
“We believe in more than prioritized to do’s but rather in prioritized to be’s; we believe in more than solely prioritized responsibilities but prioritized relationships. That life, in the end, is not so much about what we did, but who we have become, and how we have influenced others around us in their development of becoming as well.
Starting centrally, first in our hearts, then in our homes, extending to our homelands and beyond. The peace we seek is not solely that which is personal but it starts there and then extends to the people God has entrusted most closely to us – family and close friends. Surely, our influence will be most far reaching as we reach out best to those who are closest to us. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone was nurtured well by those close around them.
We live in a day of so much connectivity: Facebook, Twitter, email, phone calls, instant messaging, Instagram, etc,. The target helps me see clearly who it is most important for me to stay well connected with. Distinguishing the difference between prioritized people in my life has helped me feel peace about not being as accessible to others as I would like to be if I had all the time in the world, but I do not. Lately, I have been focusing on quality rather than quantity when it comes to relationships and people in my life. I have been “pruning” my life in a sense. I haven’t wanted quantity as much as I have craved for a sense of “closeness.”
Our challenge may be staying closely connected with the central circles while being connected to so many others. I cannot give myself to every out-of-the-blue message in my multiple inboxes. I cannot attend every social invitation available. Life has its limitations, and we cannot give in great measure to those in the outer circles and expect to have much of ourselves “left over” for the the inner circles, the priority people we love most and want to be best for.
So for this present pruning period and season of simplifying my life, here’s to saying no to too many outer circle options. Here’s to double checking my aim with my target. Here’s to keeping my eyes focused on those central circles in my scope.”
The pruning, enduring and flow of our life occurs relationally. And here’s the kicker, I have have to seek relationships and be that light for someone in order to get it back. From there, our own energy and spirit can connect to create a warmth and calm. That little light inside (yes, go ahead, start singing I’m going to let it shine) will soothe and remind of truths known long before you arrived on earth.
And so we ask – what helps you keep centered? To let the golden center radiate outward to others instead of letting the complexities and separateness rule? How do you feel whole and unified?