Thursday, July 12, 2007

Discernment

I am at a place where I wish I could really know God's will for me. I was reading a forum that got into a discussion about being single, Catholic, and middle-aged. It started with a comment that someone had heard stating singles within the Church are called to either marriage or to religious life and that in not choosing either one is being selfish. The comments took off from there, and there was a lot of frustration noted by other singles. To some degree I am single by choice. I did choose to get divorced. Luckily, I was able to have that marriage annulled as well. I married for the wrong reasons to the wrong person. Since getting divorced and coming into the Church, I've tried to figure out what I'm supposed to do. I am 99% certain that I'm not called to religious life. I leave the 1% open for God's sense of humor. I feel strongly that I am called to marriage, but since I've started to participate in church, I haven't had a single date. I don't know if it's because I am seeking too much perfection or that there simply aren't any more decent single men available. I don't think it's the concept of looking for perfection because honestly, I haven't even been able to meet anyone for me to begin passing judgment on. (a little humor here) So it's not really a matter of me being selfish, perhaps it is simply not God's will. If that's the case, why do I have the desire? Why can't I accept it and leave it at that? I am open to marriage but when I look at it realistically, I often feel a sense of hopelessness. The availability of men within my age (give or take a few years) seems to be lessening every day. Sure, preferably, I would like to marry another Catholic. But at this point, I think I'd settle for someone with Christian values. I don't consider myself truly single by choice, but more by circumstance.

What gets me is the fact that I think in terms of readiness, I am more open and ready now than I've ever been before. I'm to the point where I finally "get it." I know, understand, and agree with the Church's teachings with regard to chastity and marriage. I am learning what it means to really love another. (Thanks to the fact that I'm teaching that chapter in our adult class.) I know I should be more patient, but when one is nearing the age of 40 (in a few years), it seems more unlikely that marriage is even a possibility. I know, I know. With God, all things are possible. I know this logically. I know if it's His will, it will happen. I just don't know how to reconcile that in my heart and in my head. I constantly pray for Him to take away my desire or to make it happen. I often feel guilty when I pray for myself in that way. I know that He knows my needs and will take care of me, but He still hasn't taken away that desire. In the meantime, I don't know what to do with myself. I participate in the Church. I sing in the choir, play my instrument, and attend the adult faith formation class. I don't know if that's enough or if I should be doing more. I don't know what talents I have to share. I wish there was something in our Parish for singles. Not in the sense of dating, but for support and friendship. I wouldn't say that being single is being an outcast, but in some ways it is. There isn't really any ministry for singles it seems. I shouldn't complain. I love my parish, the people, the priest, and the faith. I am in a much better place than I've ever been. It seems I'm always guilty of wanting more than I've got, however. But the main thing is that I really wish I knew what I'm supposed to be doing instead of flying by the seat of my pants. I feel that I was called into this faith for a reason but I have yet to figure out what it is.

I know where all of this is coming from. I know I'm just having a moment of loneliness and it will pass. I will go a few months with no thought to any of this (when things get busy) and then during a lull it will hit me again. I think part of it is realizing that in two years, my son will be leaving to go to college and I will be absolutely alone for the first time in 18 years and it is very scary. Although I've met several people within the church, I still have very few friends.

I will just keep praying that God's will be done and that He reveals it to me sooner, rather than later... and if not, to give me the patience to wait. I wouldn't mind if you prayed for me as well.

3 comments:

Walter parker said...

Excuse the abruptness, but have you concidered that perhaps with the Bishop/ preist/ whoever's aproval that maybe you could try and organise something, even once a month for the singles of your church and even Parish? Walter

BretonHobbit said...

Hello!
Speaking of discernment, have you ever considered doing an Ignatian retreat, using his spiritual exercises? It's all about discernment. A bit daunting at first, but it provides excellent tools for discerning. Keep the faith and best wishes!!
peace
a fellow pilgrim

jack hawkins said...

love your honest thoughts here
unfortunately there are very dogmatic people around who insist on trying to get others to fit into their pigeonholes
glad you have the strength of character to resist this!