This week, I found myself at a bit of a sticking point in my work on my new book,“The Grace of Yes.” In one of the chapters, I am looking at the concept of saying, “Yes” to love in our lives. I want to include all kinds of love, including the choice a single, celibate person makes to express love in his or her life.
But I’m at a bit of a loss. Just as when I wrote about step-parenting in The Handbook for Catholic Moms, I need a consult. I was a single person more than a quarter of a century ago and much has changed in our world since then. And like many single people I know, I was single by circumstance, not by choice.
I believe at that time my heart was set on finding a vocation to the married life. Blessedly, I married my soulmate at a young age and our love has blossomed.
But I often ask myself, “What if?” Had I not fallen in love with Greg, how would my life have been different? Would I have chosen a religious vocation? Would I have worked somewhere as a missionary? Would I have been happy with a life dedicated to serving others and living on my own? I don’t know…
But back to our single friends. I have many of them, and when I look at their lifestyles from the outside, it seems to me that they are people who are living lives filled to the brim with love. Let’s exempt for a moment folks who have chosen a religious vocation to the priesthood or religious life—they will be covered in another part of this chapter. Let’s talk simply about unmarried folks.
How do those of you who are single say, “Yes!” to love?
It would be my contention that singles affirm their love for themselves and for God through their choice to live a faithful single life. Additionally, many of the single folks I know are in a better position to serve those in their communities since they are free of familial encumbrances—although this may not be universally true as many are single parents, care for family members, or have responsibilities with elderly loved ones. The singles I know have solid friendships and a passion for making the world around them a better place.
Am I off base here? Edify me about your yes—the challenges you face and the joys “yes to love” brings to your life as a single.
I would love to hear from you either in the comments below or privately to firstname.lastname@example.org.