"He sets the lonely in families."
So my pastor had the audacity to, well, pastor. He did this whole series on family and one of the sermons was on single people. I immediately tuned out. Not just because I'm not unmarried but because I have this pang of regret about my single years. Like they were misspent. And I don't mean on hookers and blow. I mean they were years, and truthfully not that many in my adult life so I should shut up whining already, but still hard years in which I had friends all around me dropping off like flies to wedded bliss and seemingly no prospects whatsoever in the husband arena for little old whiny me.
All this to say that as the pastor concluded the sermon he spoke to married people again and I woke up. (Ok, I've been joking around for a while now that I slept through that sermon but in all honesty I painfully heard every word.) He told us that we needed to let single people into our lives but what I heard is: single people can babysit! Seek them out! This was very desirable to me as we have yet to have a reliable babysitting network so I perked up and moved to the edge of my seat to hear more about this tantalizing idea. Also I am ridiculously cheap so I heard: it is such a joy for them to be surrounded by a loving family that just the sheer pleasure of it is payment enough! (Note, these are just the things I heard, not, in all likelihood, the things actually said.)
Enter reality. My sweet husband has a dear friend who was moving back to our town and needed a place to stay while they got settled here and in a new career. Of course we offered our house and I thought how perfect it was that the prayed-for thing of the house just happened to have an extra room anyway.
There, dropped into our lives out of the clear blue sky, was a single person. And one not particularly interested in babysitting having raised their own kids already. I often found myself stumbling all over my stupid tongue as so much of my language was couple-oriented without even realizing it. One would think I have been married forever and that I naively believe that life is like a Hollywood romantic comedy in that everyone ends up getting the girl, guy or monkey of their dreams in the end from the way I talked.
Didn't I remember? Didn't I still feel the sting of loneliness? Was my answer to all this person's problems truly that I must set them up with a friend and fix it? Surely there was more to life than one person in my life, wasn't there?
So we did life. My husband, thankfully, was much better at it than I ever came close to being. We chit chatted after our work days ended and we prepared dinner. Occasionally we would all eat together but often the single one would wander off to solitude, especially when the kids screeching and jumping about reached headache proportions.
One morning recently as I and the single person were up early getting ready for our respective jobs I offered them a cup of coffee to go. It was just a little thing but the gracious look of relief was healing to me as I realized how good it is be in a family. To have other on your side and helping out in small ways now and then. That even an offered cup of coffee on a rushed morning can be a God-send some days. For He is the one that set the whole family thing up anyway. He sets us to be filled. To be loved.