I wish I could enjoy the Advent season, but I can’t. I had so many hopes and dreams for what my life would be like at this point, but I’m in my 40’s and I’m still single. I don’t understand why I can’t find someone to share my life with. It’s hard to not have the family I dreamed of. I feel guilty that I’m not more thankful for the blessings I do have, like my health and my friends. But the loneliness is hard, especially now. Any ideas of how I can feel better about being single, and what am I doing wrong? Why is meeting someone so hard?
Single for the Holidays
Dear Single for the Holidays,
I can hear how difficult the holiday season can be when things aren’t the way you thought they would be. I also hear how hard you are being on yourself for having those feelings. Let me start by saying its ok to express your sadness and frustration at being single. Those are very normal and natural reactions to the disappointment of not meeting someone. It’s what you do with those feelings that is important.
If you let the loss of your dreams of a family (at this time in your life) overtake your emotional life, then you are going to add to your suffering. If you use this time to bring your difficult feelings to Christ, while at the same time examining what He may be asking for you, then it’s very likely you can experience more peace. How to do that? While in prayer, try imagining your hurt and disappointment coming out of your heart and into Christ’s heart. Let Him help you carry this burden at this time. Move into silence, and then listen to any words, ideas, or visions that may come to you. If you can, do this spiritual exercise at Eucharistic adoration or during Mass. And finally, study His word. See where you can live your life more fully in Christ. This is not a one-time solution; you may have to do this many times.
I can’t tell you what you may be doing wrong, but He may reveal dating patterns that are not as healthy as they could be. He may reveal you have made some very good choices not to get married yet. You may not be ready, or the partner He’s chosen for you may not be ready. Or, He may reveal that He is asking you to just be ok with where you are right now, with no other explanations (or revelations).
Yes, it’s hard to meet someone. It’s true for many reasons, and my belief is that dating is part of the cross of our generation. The moral codes that used to hold together our dating expectations and provide a roadmap for marriage have fallen apart. Our culture is confused about sex and love. And finally, we live lives that are disconnected from each other.
But, there is hope. Our faith and the teachings of our Church offer hope. See if you can use this time of preparing for Christ’s birth to be a time to prepare yourself for the future. If you never meet someone, how will you move through life? What do you want to do with your life? How can you live more connected to others, to family, and to the church? Can you choose to grieve the loss of meeting someone, without losing all hope? Can you bring Christ closer into your heart, so He may fill some of the emptiness you feel?
It’s not easy, but I know it can be done. My prayer for you is the journey of discovering renewed hope and peace in Christ.
Michele Fleming, M.A.