Tag Archive: taboo topics


disclaimer

This morning i went to a prayer meeting i used to regularly attend when we lived in Oakland a year ago.

This other couple arrived just behind us and so i turned around and greeted them, shook his hand and as i went to greet her i assume i must have put out my hand, and so she put out her hand and i wasn’t even properly looking and so it must have been my extremely great peripheral vision [cover your cards when you’re sitting next to me in poker] that alerted me to the fact that something was different. She only had one finger in the place where i was expecting a whole hand and so there was a last second adjustment and i think i ended up shaking her wrist, rather than her hand. Which felt a little bit weird.

What is the protocol when shaking hands with someone who has a finger where the rest of the hand should be? Is it to shake the finger? Or to go for the wrist? Urgh, wrist felt wrong and so i felt awkward and it all happened so quickly and other people arrived and so other greetings were made and then we very quickly got into the meeting and so i still don’t know the answer to that one. i also don’t know if it would have been okay/right/normal/polite for me to have asked what happened [or did something even happen or was she born like that?] or whether you just pretend everything is normal and try not to stare.

i wonder how it is i once managed to write a post titled ‘Blessed are the Retards’ without one bit of push back? Maybe it’s cos that was way back in 2010 when no-one was reading my blog… i mean clearly i get the point of what i was trying to do then, but i didn’t even disclaim or give reference to or anything… or maybe that was the point? But the question was the same, how am i supposed to be around someone who is different if i don’t know how to be around that person?

speciali mean i feel like a bit of a dick writing this. i don’t think i’m a complete dick. But something about this feels like it should be completely obvious and yet, it just sometimes isn’t [and sometimes it is a lot more obvious than other times]. i also hope that above picture isn’t advocating that we hold little kids in wheelchairs above our heads cos i don’t know how safe that is.

i found the series i ran on the Taboo Topics section on my blog on Living with Disabilities to be super helpful in this regard. My friend, Louise, who has Asperger’s [which i always had heard as asBergers before, so even that little bit of learning was helpful] wrote this really helpful piece, but she also took time to explain a lot more in depth and send me links to helpful articles and videos. So i feel like i am a little more equipped now to understand some of what might be helpful to her when we hang out.

i have asked a few different people to write a piece on Down’s Syndrome but so far no takers. My experience has been that people with Down Syndrome  for the most part tend to come across as incredibly joyful and happy people. i would love to know more. Is that even true? And i feel like someone taking the time to share a story with me and some insight might help me to interact better next time i come face to face with someone with Down Syndrome.

story

i imagine there is not a one-size-fits-all to this. But also that unless i’m the biggest doucheball the world has ever seen [some would very likely attest to that!] that others might be feeling the same things or wanting to ask the same questions. And i imagine that a lot of the education comes through story-telling and so maybe i just need more people sharing more stories of different  people who are living with disabilities.

i mean, this is the answer to our race issues, right? And also a big help for those who are trying to figure out being married to hear from others who have journeyed for various numbers of years at that? And again and again it has shown to be true of the so-called Taboo Topics, where stories shared on areas that have rarely been spoken about [like losing a child or being single, struggling with an eating disorder or trying to be a parent of a young child when it hasn’t been all that easy, and more] have given encouragement, strength and hope to others who find themselves in similar places.

i’m convinced that story-telling and relationship-building is one of the biggest keys to living life well in all spheres and this is just another one of those. And probably a good reminder for me to realise that as different as a different seeming person may be to me, i am the equivalent amount of different to them and so maybe my story is important as well.

What do you think about this? Is it way more simple [or perhaps completely more complicated] than i am making out?

What story would you like to hear?

[One of the most incredible responses ever, thanks to my friend Michelle Botha]

abi

Why I’m [kind of, mostly] a vegetarian.

Let me start off by saying that I like eating animals. In my early university days, I probably ate a bacon sandwich at least four times a week. This was on top of my regular meat-with-every-meal intake. I come from an Italian family. Growing up in South Africa, these two cultural combinations meant that meat was always very high on the meal priority list. But it has been a while since I last had a bacon sandwich.

Now, I still like eating animals. Yet, I am [kind of, mostly] a vegetarian. I’ll get to [that part] in a bit. Firstly, let me try explain why I, a meat-enthusiast, choose to abstain from this age-old human practice. No, it’s not because I think we shouldn’t eat animals at all, which I’m sure you’ve gathered by now (although there are many who do believe this, for valuable reasons, and I have immense respect for such an ideal). Initially, it was also not because of how our fast-paced, profit and efficiency-driven society tends to treats animals (although, this naturally became a strong cornerstone to my continued no-meat commitment, as I have found it cannot actually be separated from my first reason).

My initial, and foremost reason for quitting meat was this:

* Curbing the world’s huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change… The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming. The Guardian

* Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Fao.org

* Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Richard Oppenlander

I could go on, but I know that it is likely you skimmed over those and rolled your eyes a little. Just like we did when we were first told about global warming, or that the earth was round, or that smoking causes cancer. Its uncomfortable. And it’s certainly not the easiest conversation to have at dinner parties. It’s long-winded and almost always sounds just that little bit pretentious. But, for me especially, it’s undeniable.

It started when I watched Graham Hill’s TED talk, Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian, back at university. I was deeply compelled by his argument, and, aghast at the very idea of giving up meat altogether, I began with the ever popular ‘Meat-free Mondays’ and ‘Vegan Wednesdays’. However, the more I researched, read, watched, listened and discussed, the more I knew that simply eating less meat was insufficient. Before I start to sound like one of those “annoying environmental hippies” (although I am tempted to break out into an entirely separate argument about everything that is wrong with that statement), I do not lead the perfect ‘green life’. I smoke (ugh). I probably still use way too much plastic. My job requires that I do a lot of traveling. My carbon footprint is, sadly, still very much existent and a work in progress, which often feels quite overwhelming.

Especially when I read about 21 year olds in New York who haven’t made any garbage for two years. But, although not disregarding other ‘green actions’, which are still vitally important, I determined that the biggest impact I could have on reducing my environmental heaviness was through monitoring the food I bought and ate. In fact, quitting meat altogether has a greater impact on reducing one’s carbon footprint over and above anything else. I have seen that this is an action that is becoming increasingly undeniable to many the layman, not just those ‘annoying environmentalists’.

In a lot of my conversations, many people have asked me why my commitment has to extend to chicken or fish. The problem lies with those big lumbering cow things that fart all the time, doesn’t it? If only. Fish are a no-brainer. The depletion of our oceans and the very nature of the fishing industry today are having dramatic consequences for our future planet. And, no, not our far-off future planet, but our immediate one. And chickens? It’s a much larger web of interacting factors. Most chickens are mass-produced in disgusting conditions – whether this offends you or not, this kind of care is not environmentally friendly. Mass production means mass transportation, excessive consumption and waste, and much more. This sadly means curbing my desire for a cheeky Nando’s (which, if I’m honest, has been a stumbling block for me). The hard fact is, if you cut out red meat for environmental or moral reasons – well, chickens and fish pretty much have to follow.

But, why the [kind of, mostly] bit? Well, because I do still like meat. I just have a problem with how it is produced and consumed. And so, when I am able to access meat that is a) entirely organic (I mean really, really organic), b) locally produced, c) has come from an animal well taken care of, and d) as a result of a, b and c, has limited environmental impact, I will happily (if not ecstatically) eat it. But, believe it or not, this is actually a rare opportunity. Woolworths ‘organic’ simply does not cut it. Also, the problem has gotten so bad that in order to make an environmental difference, we need to go back to eating meat like we did many years ago – where it is something special, a treat rather than a regular part of our meals.

I could go on and on about the facts and figures, but I am a firm believer that “bible bashing”, if I may borrow the term, gets you nowhere. People have the right to choose. That being said, there is nothing I struggle with more than people who make uninformed choices. I will respect almost any decision, if it has been backed it up with thought, research and accountability. Mine led me to a certain path. But I also know many amazing individuals who have responded to these findings differently. The point is to respond. How you chose to do so lies with you. But not responding, well that’s a choice too.

Recommendations:

The arguments…

* Graham Hill – Why I’m a weekday vegetarian

* Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

Red meat…

* Cowspiracy

* Guardian: Eating less meat essential to curb climate change

Food (in general)…

* Food, Inc (full online documentary here).

Fish…

* The End of the Line (full online documentary here).

* TED ideas, Interview with Sylvia Earle, Should you stop eating fish?

[For the story of Amy Benn who was a vegetarian and then wasn’t and may be again, click here]

i have a lot of good friends who are vegetarians.

They are not a bunch of weirdos or hippies [as some non-vegetarians might presume] and for the most part if you met them as part of a group of people, you probably wouldn’t be able to pick them out as vegetarians. They are normal people. Normal people who have made a very specific choice.

veg

i am not a vegetarian [at the time of writing this]. But the reason i thought it might be important to create some space for some of my vegetarian friends to give us a glimpse of their stories and motivation is because of the following.

For me, by and large, the only time i have heard conversation about Vegetarianism, it has typically gone something like this:

Vegetarian person: Says no to offer of meat at the table or some other statement that suggests they’re vegetarian

Non-vegetarian person: Why don’t you eat meat?

Vegetarian: I’m a vegetarian.

Non-vegetarian person: [Tries to convince vegetarian why they should eat meat or that there is something wrong with them or makes a joke about them being vegetarian]

i know this, cos that ass used to be me. Fortunately a long time ago. And i think it can possibly be filed in that place of awkward space where people who don’t know what to say, say the first thing that comes into their heads [see: How are you? Fine. Or meeting someone and asking ‘What do you do?’ when you don’t in the slightest bit care and are just trying to fill space]

There are different reasons why people have chosen to be vegetarian and i can imagine the above scenario must be at the very least annoying and at most quite insulting. For the most part, the vegetarians i know don’t spend their lives trying to make me stop eating meat, although given some of their strong convictions as to why they don’t it would make a lot more sense if they did.

So i am hoping that in part, creating this space for some vegetarians to share with us why they made the change and perhaps some of the highs and lows [and stupid things that have been said to them], we can make vegetarianism less of a taboo topic and more of a perfectly normal and healthy conversation.

Also this is the latest on where these Andersons stand with regards to eating meat…

i know a lot of people have been looking forward to reading these stories that will follow…

Meet Ashleigh Holloway

Meet Michael-John Philip aka MJ

Meet Bryan Hash

Meet S’thabiso Khuluse – 5 questions you ask guaranteed to break the peace with any black vegetarian

Meet Abi Ornellis – Mostly a vegetarian [one who loves meat!]

Meet Amy Benn – Who was a vegetarian and then wasn’t and now kinda is but may totally be again soon

Meet Mary Twin Enslin – 10 Questions/Statements vegetarians are tired of hearing

WendyandXylon

I don’t know about you but growing up I believed that old people and other people got cancer.

My gran passed away from cancer when I was in my early teens. So I knew cancer existed. I just didn’t think that cancer would be part of the story of someone young, or of someone I love.

I guess that’s the first thing I’ve learnt about cancer. It doesn’t discriminate. It will attack rich or poor, young or old, dark or light, male or female.

To be honest I never wanted to learn anything about cancer. But it’s hard not learn when eight months into marriage your husband is diagnosed with lymphoma. All of sudden instead of “love”, “dinner” and “honeymoon phase” our vocabulary was replaced with “chemo”, “oncologist” and “white blood counts”.

We were in our late twenties and fresh off a plane from a seven-week backpacking holiday across South East Asia when we heard “cancer” used for the first time to explain a series of everyday illnesses my husband had.

At first we thought, like the naive, young newlyweds we were, ‘It’s 12 chemos. There is a 75% “cure” rate. It’ll just be a hiccup’. Yes, the oncologists went there, they gave a cure rate not a remission rate. How hard can this be we thought? Six months and then we’ll have our lives back.

Six months of my husband throwing up at the sight of the nurses who administered the chemo. Six months of me having to coerce him into “just one more session”. Six months of waking up in the middle of the night to make sure he was still breathing and sleeping with thermometer in the bedside table to check his temperature never rose above 38 degrees Celsius.

Six months passed and it was over. But it wasn’t. Because the second thing I’ve learnt about cancer is that it never completely goes away.

Even once you think you’ve beaten it, it hangs in there like a child clinging to its mother’s leg, asking for attention every 6 months to one year when the calendar reminds you it’s time for that scan.

The results of the first round of chemo came the same day as my grandfather’s funeral. The chemotherapy hadn’t worked. Xylon still had cancer. So we re-adjusted our schedules to more intensive chemo, four days a week in hospital this time, and a month long in-hospital bone marrow transplant procedure.

While Xylon lay in hospital for a month I learnt that cancer comes only to steal and destroy but Jesus came to give life, life and more life. I learnt that prayer is more than a nice idea, that sometimes it means praying the unthinkable and other times it means using worship as an act of war against the enemy of our souls. I discovered that even on my worst days I am never really alone and that even in the darkness God will find me. And I learnt that Jesus is still reckless with hope.

Cancer sucks. I hate it. There is not getting round that. I wish almost daily that cancer isn’t part of our story. We’re almost one year on from his first clear scan and I still get angry about all that cancer stole from us.

Yes, it’s taught us some things I hope we never forget like how not to take time with loved ones for granted. Or how to grab hold of the life you dream of and not wait for “someday”. It has reminded us to hold possessions lightly.

And it has helped put most of our petty problems in the right perspective.

And it’s taught me that God cares about us. I don’t know why he allows cancer. And I get pretty angry about death (and then I have to remind myself that God hates death too). But somehow while I’ve held my husband’s hand through chemo and fevers and blood transfusions I’ve felt that God is holding me.

Don’t get me wrong; there have been days when I’ve wondered if God exists. God hasn’t appeared to me in a vision or whispered in my ear. But I’ve felt held, buoyed up by a hope that is not my own. I can’t really explain it but it’s been real to me.

I guess this is maybe the most important thing I’ve learnt in the almost four years since Xylon’s cancer diagnosis: when the rest of the world is saying there’s no hope, Jesus is standing there saying, “They’re wrong.”

When everyone else is questioning if Jesus really cares about the hard things we’re going through, I listen for his voice declaring, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

Sometimes that’s all I have. And the longer I walk this road with Xylon’s hand in mine and Jesus by side the more I’m learning that is enough.

[Wendy van Eyck writes at ilovedevotionals.com for anyone who has ever held a loved one’s hand through illness, or believed in God despite hard circumstances or ever left on a spontaneous 2-week holiday through a foreign land with just a passport and a backpack. The various links within this post are back to articles she has written on those specific aspects of her journey]

[For other stories relating to different aspects of Cancer journeys, click here]

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Seriously Single

I never imagined still being single at 26 years old. The plan I had for my life was so much different than how my story unfolded, from going to the movies with my friends to attending their weddings, all the while silently waiting for the day my turn arrives…  (on the real, sometimes I have my SERIOUSLY THOUGH moments)

While society tends to view being single as a problem you somehow need to fix as soon as possible – I vowed to live different, but I eventually gave in to a system that tries so hard to define you before you before you can discover who you are for yourself. (Spoiler alert)

So, here is my story:

Growing up I never dated. And by never I mean NEVER.  I made a decision to save myself (both emotionally and physically for my husband) – it seemed like an amazing plan, but unfortunately after I turned 18 I gave into the peer pressure of having a boyfriend… I learnt to “play the game” as they call it….

Ever heard the saying “don’t hate the player, hate the game?” – well, I got really good at playing the game. I would make guys fall for me and then dump them when it wasn’t fun anymore. I wanted the rewards of being in a relationship without paying a price.

I wish I could tell you that this part of my story included no casualties – but it doesnt. My greatest regret would be that I did not Honour “someone else’s answered prayer” -the truth is,  I really didn’t want to “BE IN LOVE” – because I didn’t feel anyone would be able to see my truth and still accept me, I didn’t want the sacrifice that love demands or the growth it requires… I just wanted the emotions that relationships produce… When it wasn’t fun anymore, I dumped them and moved on. (Yes, I was that girl…)

I thought I was invincible, I thought that I could play the game and never get hurt, but that all changed the day I took it too far. What started off as just “playing the game” – cost me more than I had bargained to pay. Anyone who told me the relationship wasn’t good – immediately became my enemy because I didn’t believe people understood that “we were meant to be together” – Looking back I realize I was just throwing around words I heard in movies, I had no idea what it meant to “be together” but in my ignorance I was ready to give up everything, my job, my church, my friends for a guy who nursed my insecurities instead of confronting them.

When it was over, I realized that he never cared for me at all…we both played each other and it nearly cost me everything in the end.

It’s been over 6 years since I’ve been that involved with a guy, I realized that if I continued to repeat the same cycle – it would keep producing the same fruit in my life – nothing would change until I changed something. (It’s such a powerful truth, until a guy looks your way) – come on, you know how it is…

The truth is, so many single people zone in on changing their status that they forget that being single is not a status, it’s a process, and while you may spend a few date nights watching series at home alone, very few focus on who they will become on the way to the altar.

In a society that tries so hard to rush me to the altar, I refuse to do something just because everyone else is doing it. I’ve seen some people marry a good person that wasn’t any good for them, evidently they live way below their purpose (no matter how fancy a car they drive or house they live in)

Remember:- a soulmate is designed for your PURPOSE. If he/she can’t bring out the best in you, they’re not the best for you.

So, here I am, nearly 27 years old, more single than I’ve ever been. Sometimes it feels like I’ve come full circle, I’ve made some mistakes, but those things don’t disqualify me from having God’s Best for me. Sure it gets lonely. Sometimes I set the table for two because there are only so many “meals for one” you can eat.  I have some people telling me “get out there, play the game” – I say, if a boy wants to play games, buy him an XBox. I’m looking for a husband not a recreational activity.

My friends always try to set me up with guys… Some of them have good jobs, amazing families, etc, but while there are many guys I could date, there are very few I would follow. Possibly the most attractive thing to me in a guy would be leadership and vision. I don’t just want a guy who turn my stomach or my head, I want a guy who turns me towards Jesus. And if I gotta wait another 20 years for that kinda man, Lord knows I will.

So darling, wherever you are… I can’t wait to meet you one day. Although I wish you were here right now, I’m thankful for this time that I can become the best for you. To know that someday God will entrust me with caring for you is a responsibility I carry daily and I’m committed to becoming “worth my weight in gold” – Loving me will cost you something, but don’t worry, I’ll be worth it in the end. Ps:- I’m saving all my date nights for you

signed,

Your Future Wife

Angie

[For a variety of other amazing stories from men and women on Singleness, click here]

phil

I’m single and I love it! Sometimes… Sometimes not so much. Valentine’s day has just been and gone and, while it’s not an occasion that I’ve ever taken very seriously, it does bring one’s singleness to the forefront of one’s mind. I was walking through the shops last Friday (the day before Valentine’s) and saw all the people selling roses and stuff like that. There was a part of me that just wanted to buy one and give it to the next person I saw. There are times like this when I feel like I’m bursting with love and have no appropriate outlet.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about singleness since I started writing this thing and it surprised me just how much I wanted to say. Most of the time I’m hardly even aware of my lack of relationship (I’m a slightly outgoing introvert and a bit of a loner, I spend a lot of time in my own little world). I’ve tried to remove a lot of the rambling, and I’m sorry for the bits that are still left but a lot of this is me sifting through my feelings and trying to find coherent thoughts.

A bit of background, I was in a very serious, long term relationship for a bit over 5 years, from around the age of 20 to 25. I was in love, certain I would marry this girl and then it became clear I wouldn’t. Breaking up with her was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There was just so much history and comfort with her that it was tempting to stay with her and ignore the problems. Without going into details, I can look at my life now, sometimes lonely, sometimes scared for the future but also knowing that the choice was right. Remarkably, our friendship survived, something that still amazes me (a testament to her kindness).

Which brings us to now: I’m 30 and still single, what a terrifying concept! Sometimes I feel like I’m staring down the path of time and looking at a 50 year old bachelor, coming home to an empty house and I feel more than a little despair! Watching my friends’ kids growing up doesn’t help… Then I look at what I’ve given up in the past for what I have now, future me can worry about the rest. I have a relationship with God that was all but forgotten while I gave my attention to a girl. I know Him in a way I couldn’t before and, for that alone, I’d give up much more than a relationship. I may not get to build my own family but I’m part of a family far bigger than any I could build myself.

I’d be lying if I said I was content but I am mostly at peace. It’s taken me quite a while to get the difference between these two things; I still hope for more but it doesn’t keep me from getting on with life. To be honest, it’s not actually something I think about all that often but, when I do, it’s not always with anguish or anxiety, it’s often with a feeling of hope and bit of excitement at what could be in future. I think the next step is to take that picture of the 50 year-old bachelor and see the hope and excitement that could be drawn into that image. I’m not quite there yet, but I am at peace; I’ll be alright. (I’m not always at peace either, there are times when little wars break out but that doesn’t mean I forget the peace, just that it needs to be renegotiated again.)

There are some great things about being single! Not some click here for 27 reasons why being single is the best, number 9 will make your day type of garbage but real reasons to embrace this life while I have it. I’ve had to learn who I am without reference to another person. I was anchored to a huge chunk of shared history. Once that was cut away, I was adrift in some real existential crisis type zone.

I love people (just in small doses). If you want to know me, there can’t be many people around. One on one is best. After that I’ll need to recharge alone. I don’t need to reserve a large chunk of that time for one person, I’m free to share it out as I see fit. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know so many people. I’ve had views that I never questioned challenged and I’ve had to mature my thinking a whole bunch. And then there’s the more selfish reasons, I’m a gamer and a dancer and I get to devote a rather large amount of attention to these hobbies.

Furthermore, I was not aware of how much I based my self-worth on my relationship status! Being single meant either redefining my worth or feeling pretty miserable for a long time. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I started out life this way, nothing I do,say, own or make can increase my value in His eyes any more than it was when I started out with nothing, not even the ability to move on my own accord. Easy to say, hard to feel but if your worth is coming from anything else, that source probably needs to be looked at with a critical eye.

Why am I single? I don’t know. I really wish I did but I don’t. There have been some close calls, some lovely dates, the occasional mutual crush even, but even then, God made it rather clear that it was not his plan and so nothing happened. Does He want me celibate? Perhaps so, and I’m okay with that, but I wish He’d just say so and let me stop wondering… Relationships have been a stumbling block for me in the past. I’ve needed time alone to mature and build a real foundation in my life. Now I know I have to be careful in relationships. I know that any relationship I may find needs to start and end with God as a focal point. And so on… I’ve learned these things during my time alone, maybe my list just isn’t complete yet.

I was also asked for advice directed at friends who are married/heading that way. Are there many married folks reading a blog entry on singleness? Anyway, I’d like to preface this with saying it may be terrible advice, people are different and this would probably go awry in a lot of cases. For me, keep being a solid example of loving, caring people. Don’t feel the need to hide any of the joy your relationship/partner brings you, let me celebrate with you. If you have other, suitable, single friends and want to play matchmaker, go ahead but please do it openly. Yes, it’s awkward and weird but if you try be subtle, I’ll miss it. And your sharing the awkwardness makes things many times easier for me.

Cliched lines (“God has someone for you, be patient”, “I’m sure you’ll find someone soon”, etc.) are really not that helpful. I know you mean well but that’s not the way to show it. If you’re the encouraging words type, try things like “What about Susan? She’s lovely…” It’ll either open up a conversation or you’ll get shut down but at least you’ve implied that I am good enough for your friend Susan, that makes me feel good even if I’m not interested in her. (Mum, if you read this, that is not permission to start listing every single girl you know again, I know you already think I’m pretty cool :P)

Lastly, singleness in the context of the Church isn’t something that needs to be addressed in and of itself so much as relationships in general. The Christian concept of marriage is beautiful, I love it! But so often, a sermon on relationships will stick to a rather tired formula: dating and boundaries therein, wait for marriage and so on. I’m oversimplifying, there have been some amazing sermons on the topic but the problem is with the assumed progression of attraction leading to dating leading to marriage. Combine this with the ideal of marriage and there is suddenly huge pressure on dating, getting it right. There’s something of a stigma towards breakups, equating them with divorce. And so there’s this fear of dating and relationships in the church that’s not entirely warranted.

Added to that, there’s the more casual idea of a dinner date that’s completely lacking in modern social situations… I need to form an emotional connection before I can even assess whether I’m attracted to you; I can’t do this in a group. If I ask you on a date, I just want to have dinner with a person and form this emotional connection. It does not mean I am planning our marriage, and you shouldn’t be doing so either. The secular world gets so much wrong in relationships but this they get right (massive generalisation, I know but you get the point) the date is a feeling ground, not always for a relationship but also for a friendship. It’s how we plumb the depths of a bond, be it friendship or romance. You’re not making any commitment by having dinner with me, even after the hundredth time, a commitment to anything more than friendship needs to be agreed upon by both parties, I’m not trying to subtly trick you into marrying me.

I guess I’d like to sum most of this up by saying to all the single people (and those concerned) that we should take things a little less seriously. There are times when it’s hard but the same is true for being in a relationship. Just don’t let it become a central theme to your life. Love easily and keep your heart open.

One of my all time favourite quotes says it best, from C.S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

[For other stories on Singleness, from both men and women, click here]

Lynley

I am a 37 years old single guy.

I would point out that I have tried not to be single a few times….

I have had my fair share of relationships in life.  I was engaged once too. So technically speaking I am disengaged now (see what I did there) ha ha ha.

Before I get into the meaning of things in life for me, I would like to share a bit about me. I am a free lance sound engineer. I blog a bit too. And I do have a few online ventures going at the moment too (all above board). Living life, almost on my own terms. One could say this adds to the reasons for my singleness…

I think we all take time in life to find ourselves. And some longer than others. I fall in that category. For most of my early years were spent on frivolous pursuits and running after women lol. Clearly I never caught them or was it I that I could not maintain my grip on them (they were rather slippery). Well…. I will not think on that for too long now.

It is a humbling notion, that we actually take years to get to know ourselves. This has always confounded me, since humans tend to pride themselves on their achievements. Not that I am declaring myself an alien, but that humanity as a whole tends to think that we have arrived. For all our advances in technology, we are not born knowing ourself.

But getting to know yourself is a time thing whether we like it or not. Its the way life works. And for this reason I find myself single, I am still finding out stuff about myself.

37 years, yes most of my friends are married. No, worse than that, they have children. And to add fuel to fire, they have teenage children. And to think I knew some of my friends since they were single (gasp). Needless to say I don’t spend much time with them anymore. Just kidding.

I find that with people getting married, my friendship changes. I guess I understand because the dynamics of two people and add children and all things change. My brother (7 years younger than me) is married and has 3 children already. I get it, life changes. But I think there is still space in life for just the guys to meet. I mean without the demands of the wife and children. Obviously not every week, but I do think it is necessary.

I do think the church (by this I mean body of believers) can help here. Being single is not a disease. And the assumption that being single (church people read ‘alone’) is a curse. Imagine getting married when not ready, I cannot think of a more punishing thing to both people involved. Yes the clock is ticking, but we christians are going to live forever, right?

I have some good friends married and single, and no one ever pressures me (anymore). Maybe they afraid of the lecture I give them. Yes, I have some pre thought out arguments…… I will hit them with a few zingers like “Christian men can only get married after 33 years, because that is when Jesus was crucified he he he”.

That is a patented one, but since I am now older than 33 I guess you could use it if you want to.

Jesus we consider to be wise right? And when He was on earth……He was single….. Let that marinate a bit.

When it comes to ministry, being single is equivalent to having an infectious disease. Pastors avoid you like the plague. But in today’s age, there are a lot of singles over 30. I think there should be more single people in ministry. I mean happy single people, not perfect people, but happy ones. I mean those that are okay with themselves. There are some things only single people can convey. And I always seem to believe the “marrieds” in church sort of talk down to the singles. They get that distant look in their eye and mist rolls in and they reminisce on “their single days”.

Whether it is pity or nostalgia I never know.

To conclude.

Please treat single people like normal people. We are capable of being committed to things outside of ourselves. We want to help, we want to be part of things.

And the only infectious thing I have is my dry sense of humour…

Lynley

[To connect more with Lynley take a look at his blog over at thehonestone.co.za]

[For some other great story shares on the topic of Singleness, click here]

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