I just moved locations for a dream job. I teach at a Catholic elementary school, a position I wouldn’t have considered a “dream” a few months ago, but that’s a story for another post. Anyways, I just received my Master of Arts in Teaching in May and the job offer the next June. Because teaching positions in my part of the world are so rare, there was no question that I would relocate. I’m now 3 and a half hours from my beloved metropolis where I spent the last 5 years, 3.5 hours away from my darling older sister, 3.5 (or more) hours away from my dearly loved friends, and 3.5 hours away from where I learned to grow up.
In many ways, the move has been surprisingly easy and full of blessings. My isolation has reconnected me to the life of faith. Where I would once seek distraction to make me feel better, I now pray. In seeking God I am actually healing, also the subject of many more posts, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about being single. Actually, I want to talk about being single and being Catholic.
Last night was Saturday night. In my hipster metropolitan life, I would have had plans. Up here, I’m basically out of ideas after I take my dog to the dog park. Then the Feeling starts to set in. It’s hard to describe the Feeling without sounding pathetic, so I won’t. But I will tell you, if the Feeling had a soundtrack it would be Cat Steven’s “Saturday Night.” Another Saturday night and I aint got nobody, I got nobody and I just got paid… The Feeling isn’t so bad anymore. I used to live with the Feeling perpetually, even though I was surrounded by family and friends and distractions. Now it only creeps up on me here and there, but it’s just as corrosive every time.
The Feeling doesn’t care that the Huskers just redeemed themselves in an impressive performance against the Huskies. The Feeling doesn’t care that I was blessed enough to spend all afternoon with a new friend. The Feeling doesn’t care that my puppy is being precious right now. The Feeling just wants to linger over the Facebook pages of close or distant friends who seem to have the perfect lives. Friends with pictures of smiling babies and loving husbands. Friends with pictures with friends. Friends with pictures of them in exotic places, doing humanitarian or otherwise worthwhile things. Adventurous friends. Crafty friends. Social friends. Facebook feeds the Feeling and eats away what little gratitude I have left at the end of a lonely day.
But yesterday, I did something unusual. I didn’t succumb to the Feeling. I searched my iTunes for the perfect song and googled: “perpetual adoration ________ area.” The nearest chapel was 12 miles away, a distance I consider FAR, but I nevertheless locked up the pup, put my cowboy boots on over my sweats, and headed to the freeway.
I knelt in the true presence of Christ, made the sign of the cross, and began to pray. Then I relaxed. Then I cried.. just a little.
Then, I sat back in my chair and opened my bible. This is the first thing I read:
My son, if you aspire to serve the Lord,
prepare for an ordeal.
Be sincere of heart, be steadfast,
Cling to him and do not leave him,
so that you may be honoured at the end of your days.
Whatever happens to you, accept it,
and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient,
since gold is tested in the fire,
and chosen men in the furnace of humiliation.
Trust him and he will uphold you,
follow a straight path and hope in him.
-Sirach 2: 1-6
God will not leave us without comfort. He always shows us how to please Him. It looks like right now I need to work on patience and trust. And work on it I will. Faith tells me that if I do these things, he will fill my life with manifold blessing. Because what I really seek is union with Him.
So for all those single Catholics out there: in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient…Trust him and he will uphold you.