Social distancing and safer-at-home isolation are both terms that have suddenly changed society’s way of life.
My social media feeds are peppered with lamenting posts about people feeling lonely, set apart, and longing for connection during these days of social distancing.
While I totally understand they are missing their outside social-circle interaction, I have resisted the urge to post a snarky comment like, "Well, bless your heart and welcome to my world. Oh, and what a cute selfie of you and your spouse!"
See, I am single. While I am content in my singleness and have learned to enjoy my own company, social distancing and at-home isolation IS my everyday life. This horrible pandemic has cut me off from my only source of contact. An extrovert, I am rapidly approaching touch-starvation. I am hug-deprived.
My hope is that this exposure to isolation and disconnect will bring a new awareness of those navigating life alone.
In my quarter-century as a single, childless woman, within the walls of a thriving and ministering church, I have frequently encountered an unintentional mindset by a large percentage of married folks: single individuals are the single ministry’s responsibility.
And I think that mindset is a missed ministry opportunity for married couples in the church.
When I first went through my divorce, I struggled to find my place in the church. I personally didn’t connect with the singles’ ministry, mostly because I was struggling with the fact that I didn’t want to be single. When I went into a married class, I felt like a third wheel. If I had lost my spouse to death, other couples would have surrounded me and cared for me, longterm. But because I lost a spouse to divorce, it was like “Oh well, I'm sorry for you. But hey, I'll pray for you. And have a nice day!”
Thankfully, I found my place in a wonderful women’s connection group. As much as I love these women, honestly, what I still long for most is inclusion and family-connection. I know, firsthand, that married folks are more comfortable around other married folks; there is comfort in pairs and no one wants to deal with an odd number in the mix.
So when life returns to normal, if you and your husband want to minister to a single woman, invite her over on family game night. Meet her for dinner. Invite her along on a family hike. Offer to help her with a small home-improvement project. Show up with a rake and help her tackle the leaves. As a family, just come alongside of her and walk with her, just as you would a widow.
It’ll bless you and it will bless her. More than you can imagine.
…AND, when I started writing this post, this wasn’t at all where I intended it go. I was just gonna poke fun about all the families-in-ISOLATION selfies…
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of
the household of the faith.~ Galatians 6:10