Several years ago, I was fortunate to grab my piece of the American Dream. It was my dream to purchase a bit of real estate—and I do mean a bit. My desire was to move closer to work and downtown, which can be expensive. Living on a modest ministry salary, the only thing I could afford was a 20 by 20 studio condo. But to me it’s perfect. It is on the 6th floor with an amazing western view, complete with a pull down Murphy bed. Finally, my childhood Mary Tyler Moore apartment dreams had been realized.
Tonight, like so many other nights, I’ve woken up on the sofa having fallen asleep with the TV still blaring. It’s about 2:00 AM so I bet my neighbors are thrilled. I have to build up the energy to get ready for bed which really just means pulling the bed down. Even that at this time of night feels like a major feat.
On most evenings crawling into bed, I’m glad and grateful to be single. I can flop right down, open my mouth and let the snoring reach its full volume without disturbing anyone. Well, except my neighbors who are already annoyed. But there are those rare occasions like tonight, when I feel that familiar pang of loneliness pulling ol’ Murphy down. It’s not so much the desire for a sexual connection. And it’s not even just feeling the closeness and touch of sleeping with someone, which are both legitimate God given desires. Sometimes, what I really miss is simply waking up together, cooking breakfast and reading the paper. In essence, it’s sharing a life and space with someone in a special intimate way. Sure has been a very long time since that has happened.
But I catch myself, while plumping my pillows and smoothing out the comforter, from a full blown self-pity spiral. I imagine married folks don’t get to experience some of these simple ways of sharing life so leisurely at times. In fact, my mind further floods with all sorts of painful war stories about marriage. I remember hearing once—“If you’re afraid of loneliness, don’t get married.” I believe it. One friend shared with me what was most excruciating for him in his marriage. It was lying in bed next to the person you’re supposed to be the most intimate with and feeling thousands of miles away. No way to bridge the gulf—love estranged. That kind of pain feels worse to me. Perhaps going to bed alone isn’t such a bad thing after all, I think.
Being Single is Good; Being Married is Good
I have reaped many benefits from being single several years, experiencing life in a different way from my married comrades. Most days you can hear me preaching in my counseling sessions with single 20 and 30 something’s. I encourage them to stop whining about “finding Mr./Ms. right” and to squeeze every good drop out during this season. Travel the world, see and explore new places and different cultures, try every hobby that catches your attention. Make the most out of your singleness and you’ll be a much more interesting person when they do show up. I guarantee.
But, even with so many marriages suffering difficulties, many come to mind that are working. After much hard work and faithfulness, they are having joy along the journey. In all my short time on the planet, I guess I’ve concluded that no one has the “easy road”. No matter what your relationship status, there are amazing gifts to relish completely and very agonizing crosses to bear occasionally. That gives me a lot of peace, as I head to bed–about myself and the community I’m living in. Envy really is the “green-eyed monster”. No matter what side of the fence, the grass is still the same emerald, kelly or shamrock green, whichever may be your favorite shade.
A staff member since June of 1992, Scott is a key player in the WGA discipleship ministry. He plans, organizes, and implements every aspect of the Thursday night support group. In addition to public speaking, counseling group participants and training leaders, Scott maintains personal contact with many group members and it is to Scott’s credit that many group members feel personally welcomed, cared for and loved.
Although he holds a degree in graphic arts, he attributes his ministry qualifications to the “school of hard knocks.” God’s abundant grace continues to be the instrument of growth in his life, and he desires to be firmly grounded in the forgiveness and freedom of relationship with Jesus Christ.
Scott attends a Presbyterian Church.
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