The follow-up doctors who treated the dislocation in my knee were both young and quite attractive.
I went to a handful of appointments and, at the end of one of them, I sat in the waiting room and watched the parking lot for my sister who was coming to pick me up.
As time ticked by, I could hear another young woman, a patient, gushing at the checkout window. Apparently, one of the doctors was interested in her and had given his number to her. She went on and on about how cute he was. I, on the other hand, wasn’t gushing at all. This stung. All I received from my doctor was a mere fist bump.
I vented, my voice cracking with emotion, as I told my sister about it on the way home. Not my best memory . . . to this day.
Singleness is near the top of my list of tender aches. Not being in a relationship at twenty-seven is not the life I dreamed for myself. Yes, there have been crushes over the years. But no boyfriends and no fiancés. I’ve dabbled in online dating, but I’ve found that it is not my favorite.
Struggles exist in this season, as every single woman is aware. But, Valentine’s Day — actually, the whole first half of February — is a particularly tough season. Social media is like a pink, red, and white cascade of romance and sweet gestures and dreamy dates. Yet, for us single women, we feel like we’ve been left with a hole in our hearts, asking the same exact question that bubbled to the surface while I sat with teary eyes in the orthopedic waiting room: Why couldn’t it all be for me, too?
Instead of the sweet gestures and having butterflies in our stomachs, we are alone and survive the day without a significant other to call our own. Perhaps we even feel ashamed and embarrassed of this part of our story. We try to focus on giving and receiving the love around us in tangible ways that make the most of the holiday . . . still we’re saddened that we don’t have the affirmation and affection of romantic love.
At this moment, it doesn’t seem like this Valentine’s Day will be any different for me, as my relationship status is the same as it was last year: Single. Even so, I want to make the most of this day by celebrating love, whether it comes from my parents or through organizing a card-making project for imprisoned children in Uganda, as I have done since my teenage years.
As single women, it may feel like there will always be an endless string of Februarys to “get through.” But this year, maybe we can think about our singleness through the lens of these two questions:
- What if this was the very last Valentine’s Day we spent on our own, or ever?
- How would we live it out differently?
How might we soak up the moments and opportunities to spread love to those in our lives? How could we spend this day with genuine intention, time, and focus for the relationships we’re already in, romantic or not?
Even if it turns out that we are single next year, and the next year, and the next. Even if we’re single for seasons without end, might we still make the very most of each Valentine’s Day. Because, though we’re single, God is still bestowing His best for us. At all times, we are being given all things — the right things . . . what we need and His highest good.
Even when singleness, and seasons of singleness, are less than ideal, there is a promise worth breathing in and absorbing — a promise that is both a comfort and a guarantee: Our single seasons do not come unaccompanied by God’s unique love.
So, let’s allow our hearts to hope in God’s rich, everlasting love — even though it looks and is different from romantic love. For, His love is better — always has been and always will be. God’s love heals our broken places and satisfies our souls in ways that human love never could.
Being acquainted with such a love can carry us through every season — single or not — with a certain joy and sure safety that is impossible to find anywhere else. This Valentine’s Day, let’s hold our heads high and tend to the tender walls of our hearts with the truth of God’s everlasting love.
We are loved to love — loved to both receive and give God’s lavish love. Even if our Valentine’s Day doesn’t consist of dreamy dates with cute doctors, still we can celebrate the love that surrounds us, even now.