It's awkward sometimes, being a single lady in a family and couples-oriented community. When I was younger it bothered me, but now I've learned to appreciate and love my single life.
In some ways, the single life affords me a great deal of guilt-free selfishness...I can generally come and go as I please, squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or the middle (whichever way the mood strikes me) and always feel assured that my toilet seat is down. I can have as many bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shower gel, and bubble bath in my shower as desire.
In other ways, the single life gives me tremendous opportunities for generosity. I can drop everything to help a friend in need. I can give money to others without feeling that I am neglecting the needs of my own children. Even scripture reminds us that it is good to remain single as a married person must concern herself with the affairs of her husband while a single person can devote herself to the service of the Lord.
In general, I am quite content with thirty-something-never-been-married life....until....
"Are you one of these independent women?" a guy asked one of my single-and-approaching-thirty girlfriends. What is she supposed to be? Seriously, not sarcastically, what is someone in her place or in my place supposed to be but "independent". Would it really be appropriate for me to, at age thirty-something, to be living with my parents? Is it wrong we try to be financially responsible and savvy?
Of course I would love to have a gentleman in my life to handle the "traditionally male" duties....maintaining the car, carrying heavy boxes, killing snakes and bears, and checking out those noises that "go bump in the night." NEWSFLASH: HE AIN'T HERE YET! I have no choice but to take my own car to the mechanic, carry my own heavy boxes, check out strange noises (okay, I've never killed a snake or a bear!).
"Women like you can't let people help you," the guy said. Okay, I can understand where he's coming from. So I've been making a conscious effort to ask for help and accept help. Sometimes I just forget to ask for help because I'm so used to doing things myself. It's not that I'm insulted if a gentleman offers to carry a heavy object for me, on the contrary, I would likely be flattered. It's just that it never crosses my mind to give him the chance to help; I do it myself because I'm just used to it.
Tonight I attended an outdoor community event with a friend and her 4 week old infant. Seating was limited, so many people simply stood or sat on the ground. To my surprise and bafflement, I observed three men sitting on a bench located less than 3 feet from my friend who was holding the infant. None of them offered their seat on the bench to the young woman. Finally, my friend just sat down on the ground, right in front of the men resting comfortably on their bench, still holding the infant. Then men continued with their bench-warming duties while the mommy and baby sat on the hard ground.
I didn't want to embarrass my friend by asking the men to offer her a seat. I asked her permission to gently confront the men, but she preferred that I didn't do so. My friend really didn't think too much about sitting on the ground while the men sat comfortably on a bench...she was just used to it. Sound familiar?
Perhaps that bench-warming scenario is the reason why so many of us "independent women" are so independent. What choice do we have when so many knights have allowed their armour to become rusty?
The good thing is, I can think of many guys in my life, both married and single, who would have fallen all over themselves to offer a seat on the bench to the mommy and her baby. I know chivalry still exists, but for some gentlemen, it's circling the drain fast.
Here's my hope: I don't have to be independent. I have a groom named Christ and I am completely dependent upon Him. He is my beautiful Prince of Peace who comes to my rescue daily. He's mighty enough to carry my every burden. He's the Warrior who fights for me. He's rich in every heavenly resource and more than able to meet every need. He has given me many spiritual children in the girls and babies that I care for daily.
Yes, I still am looking for that gentleman to kill the snakes and bears for me, but until he arrives, I'll just be busy living life. If you know any chivalrous snake or bear killers, I'm open!