Free to Fly: A Defense of the Single Life
When I was 15 years old, the biggest tragedy of my life was that I felt alone and disconnected. I wanted a boyfriend with all my heart. I longed for a romance that would begin right then and last until the end of time. I don't know if you have ever felt such a longing, but for me, it was everything. Every book I read, and there were a lot of them, and every program I chose to watch on television had a happy ending with the girl finding herself in the loving arms of some guy who had started out gruff or mean, but ended up having a heart of gold. You've seen that story. I tried so hard to live it. Thankfully, however, I ended up with a wonderful husband without all the gruffness and ignoble character traits that were so popular during my teenage years. And thankfully, God didn't give him to me at 15. Sadly, the poor guy was stuck with me from 16 years of age and on, and he's still stuck with me today.
We married a week after my 18th birthday, and within 3 months of our wedding, we were expecting a child. I never lived alone, not from the moment I left home to be married, and our house became more full of people from then on. I've been so happy this way. It's a wonderful life for someone who longed for a family more than anything else. Living with my grandparents and aunts had been a good childhood, but as an idealist, all I could imagine was the idealized existence of kids being raised by Mom and Dad, sticking together through poverty and sickness, the good times and bad, and building a lifetime of memories together. It's what I eventually had as Rudy's wife, and as I said, I have been extremely happy this way.
However, what on earth made me think that being single was a great tragedy? What felt so bad about being free to fly for a while, testing my wings before wrapping them around a nest full of chicks? Why not try experiencing a long, fruitful life as a single woman before settling down? For me, marriage at a young age was awesome. But what is wrong with the other option?
Through the years, I've met a lot of women who didn't marry until they'd lived at least a decade as single adults. They had lived with family, lived on their own, and they had worked and traveled and done a lot of things for God. Their lives were a neat window into the alternate universe where I would never live. They provided a cool, fresh outlook into how the other half lived, and I enjoyed learning that if I had not married when I did, I might have experienced different adventures, but good ones.
If you're single, and you don't have a love interest in sight, don't let yourself focus on that so much that you miss the opportunity to see what else is available out there in the world. There's a LOT of amazing stuff that we can do when we're free to fly. For example, my young friend went on a missions trip this summer and visited Machu Pichu. After the missions trip ended, there were more adventures. She hiked up a mountain and ziplined to her next hotel. How cool is that?
Another friend had a music ministry and sang in churches all over her area, praising God and selling her albums. She met her future husband during this adventurous life, and now she's a preacher's wife with two lovely girls.
A newer friend of mine told me of years singing in her brother's band, leading a youth ministry, traveling and working in different places, and finally meeting a man and settling down well into her 30s.
I want to remind you that if you're married, your life is vitally important. You're growing together with your mate, and the lives you impact together are going to be changed forever by your influence. But if you're single, you are making an impact, too. You're out there representing something to the world. Please choose to spend this time like my good friends are doing and have done. Represent God well. Represent clean living and exciting adventures. Represent what is good and right about the people of your generation. Live big, fly free, and do something special during this time. Life is precious. Don't waste it.