Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a book review...

... some of the most drastic things in life are done in the name if love. Some of the even more desperately drastic things have been done out of fear of loneliness. Women are the worst for the latter.

Being single isn't the end of the world. Loneliness is not exclusive to singles either; even married people experience loneliness. And being single doesn't necessarily mean you are doomed to a constant state of sheer despair. In fact I am tired of the two words, single and lonely, being used synonymously.

Slowly but surely I am growing to love my status in life; single-hood. There's no one around to judge me if I want to eat a pop tart for dinner while standing over the kitchen sink donning sweat pants and fuzzy slippers... like I did this evening.

It's taken me awhile to get here but here I am, and happily so.

Seraphic Singles is a great blog for those happily single people, or those who are trying to be happier. Wallowing gets you nowhere. Despair is spiritually corruptive and that is why it's important to find the positive joys in whatever status God has you placed in for the moment.

For a light hearted and uplifting read I would like to recommend, not only Mrs. Cumming's blog, but her book The Closet's All Mine.

"This humorous narrative reveals the thoughts, advice, and fractured social life of a serious young Catholic woman who--no matter what--is determined to remain true to the Church's moral teachings."

Hm. Sound familiar? Do yourself a favour. Order this book and read it with a glass of wine. .. or two. Then give it to your girlfriend as a Valentine's Day present.


3puddytats said...

What I LOVE about being single--

I come home from work to a CLEAN neat house (hasn't been trashed by kids or cats don't make too much of a mess), change into something a bit more comfortable, pour a glass of wine and ENJOY THE SILENCE....

I can also soak in the tub without rubber duckies :)


Mark of the Vineyard said...

These things work out in the starngest ways. I used to be praying for a religious vocation. In fact, I thought I had one, and was praying for God to help me discern exactly where He wanted me. Then, out of the blue, I got back in touch with a friend who I hadn't spoken to in 14 years, and she introduced me to a friend of hers. Long story short: so much for thinking I had a religious vocation.
though I still do dream about it occasionally, my g/f has helped me to have more backbone about the Faith and helped me to know myself more. In knowing myself more I am able to pray better.

The Lord's ways...

G said...

“To be free is often to be lonely” --Auden

Julie said...

Yes, this book (and blogger) is fantastic! It is really worthwhile for anyone who is single for whatever reason, and I would argue, for anyone who is interested in vocations. Singleness as a state of life is so often overlooked.

Mary Rose said...

You're singing my song. :-)

I was single for quite awhile. I wasn't always happy about it, but in my late twenties, I finally accepted it. There were so many things I was able to do that I wouldn't have done if I were married and had kids. Since I'm a bit of a contemplative, anyway, I relished my solitude. It was a great antidote to my day job, which was filled with demands from other people and work that always multiplied overnight. Some of my pleasures:

- spending an entire Sunday cooking 3 Indian recipes from scratch and then enjoying my feast

- not ever worrying if my living habits were annoying anyone else

- attending social gatherings and not having to "check in" with someone when I wanted to leave

- not arguing with anyone about money or why I bought a certain item

- (and on a more spiritual note) being able to spend long, uninterrupted times in prayer and scripture study

There are benefits to both the single life and married. As St. Paul says, whatever state you may be in, find contentment. To me, the only way to do that is to stay close to God always.

I may read that book you mentioned just for the smiles. Most of us spend the majority of our lives as singles, anyway.

Maggie said...

Yes yes yes! I heartily echo Kat's recommendation of the Seraphic Singles book and blog. Very funny, very faithful, very honest. A wonderful gift for yourself, or as Kat suggested, buy a half-dozen and give them to all your single friends!!

I think what I like best is Dorothy (or Auntie Seraphic, as she is known on her blog) is very upfront about the possibility that not everyone who wants to get married will marry. This is key for staying rooted in reality, rather than wistfully thinking, "Oh when I get married I will have a ________(lovely home, fancy car, 8 perfect children, etc....)." We are called to holiness in our state of life, right now, so let's start by working on that and let God worry about his own plans :-)

Seraphic said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Cat! Thanks also to Julie and Maggie.

It is true that women usually spend a big chunk of our lives Single--for however many decades at the beginning, possibly some time in the middle (alas), and usually for years at the end.

TCN said...

There is a world of difference between being alone and being lonely. Both can be spiritually awakening, but only one of them brings peace of soul. Loneliness is often a longing for human company, while alone often includes a longing for the Divine. Knowing the difference goes a long way to discerning one's vocation in life, and sometimes that vocation is single life, in all it's vagaries and glory. That the Church is not always too supportive, at least outwardly, to the single life, does not diminish its benefits and power.

When I was single, and that was for a very long time, I was free to study, to pray, to listen and to find my own peace. I think that has been a great benefit in how I deal with being married with kid. I know that were I to have married early, I would not have had the patience and acceptance in raising my son as I have now, and I suspect that was God's plan all along. Then I would have valued a spotless house, complete meals at the appointed hours, perfect record keeping and the like. Now, I'm much more into letting him lead the day and discovering what is fabulous about enjoying childhood from an adult perspective. I think my family has benefited from that.

Anna said...

Cat, thanks for linking to this blog a while back. I have been enjoying it thoroughly.

Keystone said...

On a bell curve, most folks marry in their 20's or 30's....a few sooner or later.
All of those years are lived as a single, until married.

ALL married will become single again, by death or divorce, but single they will become one day again.

Totalling up the years BEFORE marriage, and the years AFTER marriage, I suspect we all live most of our lives as a single, without realizing it.

But the Bible standard is reduced to Tabto....from Ecclesiastes 4:9,
"two are better than one".

Loneliness resides in both states; single and married. There are many options as a single, in dealing with loneliness. Fewer for married folks, eh?

But examine loneliness as the gift it is.
"Loneliness is an awareness from God, that HE longs to be in fellowship with us, as WE long to be in fellowship with one another."

I read that on a calendar at my dentist's office while he was playing musical cubicles, and I restlessly stood up to view a polar bear at the North Pole, peering into the distance, freezing water lapping at his toes, on the edge of an ice flow, as a massive dark storm approached in the background.

HE was alone. There was NOTHING. No seals, no fish, no other polars, just the one standing tall, braced against the elements, and peering far off...alone.

Vertical and horizontal relationships cure loneliness.
God established vertical relationship to be in fellowship with each of us, married or single.

Horizontal relationships we do on our own. Their success depends primarily on the strength we have, in our vertical relationship.

You cannot establish a horizontal, until you establish a vertical, and embed it deeply, to support any horizontal we wish to hang on the vertical we carry.

Love God.
Love one another.

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kkollwitz said...

"There's no one around to judge me if I want to eat a pop tart for dinner while standing over the kitchen sink donning sweat pants and fuzzy slippers... like I did this evening."

Uh- this sounds like my marriage.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for this post! I needed to hear this right now.