Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Setting the Lonely


"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.

Then I turned 25 and my panic reached a fever pitch. Oh dear God! A lifetime of cats is in store for me! I've written about some of this before and how sweet Jesus spoke to me with a promise as I floated in the ocean, that while I was floating for the time there would be a day when he would set me in a family. Once said family arrived I realized that it had been vitally important for us, as a whole, that I had established my career first and thus the delay. (Realistically a whole two to four years as the mass exodus of my friends to marriage started at the usual graduating age of 21 and peaked when I was 23... Christians. Sheesh we get married young.) 

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.


16 comments:

  1. I love the verse in Psalm 68:6 "God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..." During 30+ moves in my life, I have been privileged to see the truth in that verse. And then for others who we have "adopted" along the way. God is such a loving, amazing God!

    Blessings to you!

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    1. Thanks for putting the reference on here, I couldn't remember what it was!

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  2. yes...even a cup of coffee...cold water... done in His name....sweet post...blessings~

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  3. oh, the power of a cup of coffee given in love...yes...so good and gracious is our God...blessings to you :)

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  4. Yes, it's the small things that speak so loudly. What a lovely lesson learned!

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  5. Here I am, 64 years old, and still single. I didn't choose that path, but it just happened. There are lots of lonely times, places that I don't fit, times I feel uncomfortable. But there are so many who have always reached out to me. And I know if I am lonely and alone, it's usually because I chose to be that way. The Lord has always provided someone to fill those empty places. And you know, that provision has usually been in giving ME a place to serve. Maybe that's why babysitting was mentioned. There IS something about doing things for others that blesses the giver way more than the taker.

    And there are days when I could have used a cup of coffee!!!! This was so great to read today. Thankyou for sharing it!

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  6. Yeah, I hear you. To avoid "misspent years" we really should always seize the day. Whether single or married. Because God is good. All the time. Blessings to you and yours!

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    1. Yes! HE is good all the time. I have been telling myself this over and over latey!

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  7. Such an important thing to remember. I enjoy your writing style. Every Christmas we try to have a Christmas brunch in which we invite all couple single people over. It's so nice having them and we tend to learn so much from them.

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    1. Blessings on you, what a lovely thing to do at the holidays! I have an Aunt that does that and I didn't realize how valuable that was until one year, as a single, I realized just what she was doing!

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  8. Any act in His name will richly bless. What a wonderful post we all needed to hear.

    God bless ya and have a fantastic weekend sweetie!!! :o)

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    1. Aw. Thanks. Don't know if I fully acknowledged it was in his name, oh to do that more! To give him t he glory first and always!

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Got any random bits of your own?