I’m excited to be speaking this week for Chicago’s annual Theology-on-Tap summer speaker series. I love going to new places, meeting young adult Catholics from across the diocese, and hearing people’s single life stories!
For anyone who is thinking about coming to an event – or perhaps second guessing whether this is something for you – I’ve recently learned that there is a growing MYTH and misperception about the book, the speaker, and the single life.
For anyone who has read Party of One, you know it’s all about debunking the myths of the single life! In the book, I talk about how we can use various tools from our spiritual lives to live full and abundant single lives. Whether you are content to be single, actively searching, casually dating, or almost engaged – I would really encourage all of you to join us for some great conversation this week.
However, before you go, I want to share with you the most recent MYTH that I’ve been confronted with: Attending a Talk on the Single Life Means You’ve Been Defeated.
Last fall I was giving a talk in Chicago, and someone I know invited a friend to attend the event. My friend later emailed me and said, “You might be interested to know why my friend declined the invitation to come along.” She basically said, “I don’t want to be single forever, so why would I go to a talk that’s trying to convince me to stay single. Furthermore, there is something about buying a book or going to a talk on the single life that feels like I’m admitting defeat.”
Ouch. I’m not sure how she got this impression. For the record, I’m not here to convince anyone that you should be single forever! I speak strongly in favor of an abundant single life, but I’m certainly not anti-marriage. (I’m quite in favor of marriage, actually!) I try to make it clear that all options are on the table – dating, marriage, single life, religious life, etc. I discuss spiritual strategies for dealing with loneliness, address concerns about pressure from family, answer questions about intimacy, and enter into authentic discernment about the future … oh, and what to do about that pesky, ever-ticking biological clock! Ultimately, for those who are called to marriage, I also hope it sets a strong foundation for healthy and holy relationships in the future.
Most myths are based in fear – unsubstantiated, but very real nonetheless – and I suspect this myth has some fears lurking behind it. Perhaps it is the fear of never finding a partner or wondering if I have somehow failed at the dating-thing. Some of us worry about other people’s perceptions of us or a lurking feeling that being single makes us “less than” our married counterparts. There may be specific fears based on a previous relationship, or perhaps coming to a talk like this opens up some old hurts and resentments.
However, attending a talk or buying a book does NOT mean that you’re defeated! It does not mean that you are doomed to be single forever! It means that you’re a consciously aware human being. If you’re feeling defeated, and wondering if a church basement full of other singles is the place to be this week, ask yourself these questions:
How do I really feel about being single? Am I excited about my life? Do I enjoy my social-life, my friendships, and my freedom? Can I find meaning and purpose for my time as a single person? Or do I find myself jaded and bitter about my single status? Am I grieving a recent breakup or envious of a friend who recently got engaged?
If you come to a talk on the Single Life telling yourself “I’m really OK being single” – and deep down you’re really not OK – then you’re likely to walk away feeling defeated. Consider talking with a close friend about “where you are” with your single status. Better yet, take this into prayer and honest conversation with God.
In our couple-centric society, people often deem marriage or couple hood as “success” and singleness as “failure”. I cannot think of anything further from the truth! Whether you are single for now or suspect that you’ll remain single for a long time, being single can be a fulfilling and fruitful way of life. No one is giving up on YOU and your potential for a full, meaningful, purpose-filled life – regardless of your relationship status.
Come out and share in some great Theology on Tap food, beverage, and conversation! I hope to see some of you this week.
LIVING SINGLE WITH FAITH, PURPOSE, AND PASSION
Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm: Theology on Tap Fat Man Pizza Pub – 36309 N. Route 41, Gurnee IL
Hosted by Our Lady of Humility and St. Paul the Apostle. For information contact Kate Kinser at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, July 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm: Theology on Tap St. Peter’s in the Loop – 110 W. Madison, Chicago IL
For information contact Fr. Ed Shea at email@example.com
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm: Theology on Tap St. Matthew – 1001 E. Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg IL
Theology on Tap takes place in the Hughes Center. For information contact Tammy King at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm: Theology on Tap Dominican University – 7900 W. Division, River Forest IL
Theology on Tap takes place in Lewis Lounge, located on the first floor of Lewis Hall. For more information contact Kari Hamende at email@example.com
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm: Theology on Tap Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Bistro – 3905 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago IL
Hosted by St. Andrew & Ravenswood Catholic Young Adults. For more information contact Vince Lacey at firstname.lastname@example.org