I confess, Valentine’s Day makes me want to gag.
I speed past the gigantic displays of red hearts, cute stuffed teddy-bears and boxes of heart-shaped chocolates that consume the shelves of every retail store. I avoid the card aisle where everyone is congregated to find the perfect sappy sentiment. Even the usually-endearing romantic movies on TV make me nauseous.
I’m not bitter about love, but perhaps I am a little cranky because I believed all the marketing strategies, slogans, and stories.
Walt lied to me. Hallmark lied to me. Mattel lied to me. And so did the Brothers Grimm.
Dreams don’t always come true, even if I do have the courage to pursue them. Even when I send (give) my very best, it’s not a guarantee I will find the perfect-match. I never considered real life would not follow the script of my idyllic make-believe world of Barbie and Ken. And happily-ever-after is, indeed, just a fairy tale.
Despite the fact that my Prince Charming went riding off in the sunset without me, I held fast to my romantic dreams…and a glass slipper. I watched the horizon for a prince who would ride up on his steed, swoop me off my feet and whisk me away to his castle.
At some point, my romantic aspirations evolved into what I once heard defined as a rotic-reality: ‘rotic’ is what is left when you take ‘man’ out of the word romantic. So I tossed the glass slipper in the ditch, hiked up my princess gown, put on my hiking boots, and started walking the Rotic Road, focusing on the path set before me.
The more I walked, the more I realized that I had bought into the biggest lie of all: I had believed I needed a man to make feel loved, worthy and complete.
If you had told me back in 1994 that I would still be single in 2022, I would have laughed in your face, rolled my eyes, and then bit my lip to silence a fearful, gut-wrenching scream. However, despite what I was certain would be a grim reality, these years of singleness have been an amazing adventure.
Sure, I have lonely days, but not because I am single…but because I am human. Sometimes the sound of silence is deafening, but I can turn on the TV and watch whatever channel I want. My single income is proof that the Lord will provide our financial needs; He multiplies our little. I travel when I want and where I want. I’ve learned to say no without guilt. I sleep in the middle of the bed on frilly sheets. Because I can, I painted my bedroom walls pink. I have sole possession of the remote control. I’m not afraid to attempt DIY projects. I’ve learned to do minor home repairs and know when to call a handyman. I take care of my own lawn, but I will not get on my roof. I’ve refused to haggle with a new car salesman and challenged an insurance adjustor. I’ve made dumb mistakes and really dumb mistakes, but I learned from them. I’ve had countless ah-ha moments and just as many duh moments.
Even before I began my solo-walk, the Lord showed me I was not alone. He was with me and He will always be with me. He has put godly-friends in my path. My sister-friends cry with me when I am troubled, help carry the load when I am weary, and stand with me in prayer. They encourage me when I need to take a step-of-faith, hold me accountable when I need to make a course-correction, and celebrate my accomplishments and victories. Together we are running the race set before us.
The most important thing I have learned is that God is the only One who can fill the void in the depths of my heart. I am loved, worthy and complete in my singleness. He is my First Love and I am His beloved.
While I don’t need a man, if one appears in my path, you can be certain I will make sure the Lord put him there and that he is headed in same direction I am going. And if he is, and if things look like they may get serious, I’m gonna have to do some serious praying…especially about relinquishing possession of the remote control.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy my joyful-right now. And if nothing better is on television, I may even turn to the Hallmark channel.
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And He has filled the hungry soul with what is good.
~ Psalm 107:9