Single Parent Faith

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day— Bah! Humbug!

This Valentines comes and goes with no fanfare. I am not in a relationship- not by choice, but by statistics. Seems the older I get, the fewer the prospects. Ever notice when you are not in a relationship, that everywhere you look, you see couples?

I have gone the gamut of emotions and cycles in the merry go round of singledom. I have been divorced now for 13 years and though I had 3 serious relationships since then, they were not to be. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not regret the opportunity to love and be in love. Very awesome emotions, which I hope to one day again experience.

I recall meeting a married woman one day at a coffee shop, who shared that at this stage in my child’s life I should “finish strong” with raising her. She made a good point. She said there isn’t much time left with her before she’s grown and out the door, so her advice was to focus on this time together. I think she was well meaning. What she said made a lot of sense to me. But simultaneously, there was a small voice clamoring as it was being smothered. The voice called out How about balance? Is it possible to be there for your child and also be available to start a relationship with the right man?

I vacillate myself between two thoughts.  Is it possible to date, while simultaneously being responsible, loving and present for your child? Or is it only possible to focus on doing one well?

Since my divorce I’ve gone through the process of ups and downs as the mind scrambles to find the truth about oneself and relationships. There was a period (many in fact) where I was consumed by the “lack” and what seemed missing. I was very present to the hole, the missing part of my life. That’s when I felt my loneliest.

This must have been when I began relationships, which ultimately proved to be wrong for me. Then I took time off to work on me. Like the cliché goes, the constant in all my relationships was me. So I knew it was time to take a break and just be by myself.

It’s like a bathtub, after a bath, there’s soap scum that lingers. If you don’t take time to cleanse the mind and spirit, before you attempt to begin again, you carry the same dirt with you — Your own dirt.

I have contemplated and prayed, I have experienced many Aha moments, and have tried to learn from these insights. To say I have learned patience and humility is not accurate, as I believe I have not mastered them as much as I have come to recognize their importance in relationships.

I have gained more reverence and appreciation for the simple pleasures many married folks take for granted.  The other day a newlywed shared she didn’t want her husband doling on her since she considers herself independent. Hearing this was like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. How often we find ourselves in life wishing for what we don’t have, and when we receive it, complaining about it? Though I cannot guarantee I myself will never complain again — I am human after all — I can however, say that I am alert to learning to appreciate things more and more.

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