Friday, September 26, 2008

On my mind: debates, relationships, and movies

Well friends, if I were crazy, then I'd probably blog about the debate tonight... but since I ain't (crazy), I'll just say that I watched it - mostly - and I'm bound to be inundated with talk in the upcoming week about how ridiculous McCain is and how stellar Obama is. I'll add that the first half was the worst - on both sides -and that the second half was better. I was about to write in a candidate on the ballot, during the part where neither candidate was answering the questions, ugh, I hate campaigning in the form of debating. Ultimately, I think I am still an Obama supporter, but if the truth be told, I'm one of those people in the middle who isn't sold yet on either candidate for presidency (vp candidates not withstanding).

Feel free to comment on this post, but I won't reply :). And if you are impolite in your comment, I will unfortunately have to delete it. Thanks for considering.

The real reason that I am posting tonight, is that I'm home (a) and since I had planned to watch the debate, I have no other plans now (except watching "Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" and maybe a movie) (b), and (c) Bethany encouraged me to put some thoughts on "paper" that we discussed on Tuesday night by phone.

On Tuesday night I spoke to a gal pal of mine, Bethany, on the phone - while I drove home from BSF. ( you can check out bethany's blog at: We talked about relationships, our hearts, and how to be triumphantly single - and by that I mean both transparently honest and also content. She suggested that I should blog part of our talk. The downside to blogging good conversation is that in the moment, when the Lord is in your conversation and you are interacting, it sounds great and makes sense....later you can't remember anything specific about what either of you said! (ok, maybe this is just a problem I have?)

So I'll try. Bethany was speaking about how as a single person, sometimes (especially in church community) it can feel shameful to be sad about being single or feeling lonely. As though somehow longing for a love relationship is a bad thing. This stems from a lot of things: 1) the unhealth of the church today - we aren't honest with each other, we don't know how to relate to each other and we don't want to be rejected by community, 2) the historic position of the church at large that women are less valuable than men, 3) Paul's admonition to be content in all circumstances - as though contentment is the same as happiness, which I think is untrue (and I think other biblical examples point to the valor of discontent with the status quo- i.e. Moses in Egypt), and 4) the expectation (sometimes explicit) that we are all more perfect if we are married - this is clearly untrue not only by biblical example but born out in life examples, too.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about being single again lately. (I go through seasons of thinking about it) I think it has been on my mind more lately because of moving to a new place and feeling alone (and lonely), having to do a lot of things alone, and not having a person here to share the day with. It was interesting because as B was talking, I heard her saying she wished she had someone with her to "witness her life" (she may not have used those words, but thats the gist), someone to share the day with, to discuss the personal with, someone to love and to give of herself to (and to be given love back).

The first thing I thought of was Much-Afraid (in Hinds Feet), and the second was movies. I recently rewatched Stranger Than Fiction and Shall We Dance? Both of which are excellent movies with very thoughtful parts. In Shall We Dance?, there is a point where Susan Sarandon's character asks a question of a private detective she hired - she asks him why he thinks people get married. Her reasoning is one of the cruxes of the movie, I think. She says she thinks people get married because "they want a witness to their lives," and that in marriage you are saying, "I will care about you; about the little details, I will listen to you." She says that people are saying, "Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice you; your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness."

I love that line. At least from what I know of my own heart, I think its pretty true. Bethany and I talked about the fact that desiring marriage isn't just about having someone to witness your life, but witnessing someone elses life, being a part of something outside yourself.

Well friends, I can't remember the best parts of the conversation, I'm sure, but I will try to make a couple points:
a) We need to be more honest with each other! If a few brave singles talked about what they are feeling, others would speak up, too, and everyone would realize they aren't alone.
b) We need to find community in a variety of places, and allow ourselves to be loved by those communities (and we need to bring love into our communities!)
c) You, my dear single friends, are not less or incomplete or substandard because you are single (no matter what messaging you get from the world).
d) It is OK to bring these issues with you to God - sometimes I have some really good knock down drag outs with God on this topic! Trust me, the God who created the universe can handle your concerns.
e) Also, there is a way to be content in your circumstances, even in the midst of being lonely. By recognizing that there are parts of you lacking, recognizing that there is a void in your life that needs to be filled - and then considering that Jesus loves you fully and completely, you will find some measure of peace. Then, taking those lonelinesses, concerns, and fears to God, you can experience the peace that passes understanding.

For me it often means a contented discontent. I would give up all my hopes for marriage if it means that I could serve God better, or bring Him more glory. At the same time, the desire of my heart is to have a partner who I can share life with in all different ways. For now, I am content to wait (though the Lord knows my heart!), and make myself available for all the opportunities I can to serve God and to meet someone who captures my heart.

Blessings to you, my dear married and single friends!

(footnote: please know that the ideas of marriage expressed above are pretty romantic and idealistic - don't think I don't know it. I've seen a lot of marriages from the inside over the last 10 years, and even the prettiest on the surface can be struggle underneath. But most of my married friends still wouldn't trade it for being single, nonetheless.)


bleev said...

Mmm... Thank you! :-) Even if it's just for me! I love you.

Kristen said...

Thanks for being transparent, Tiff. I'm in one of those seasons too and it's good to hear from someone else who gets it. So, thanks for the encouragment. And thank Bethany for posting a link to this on Facebook so I could read it. :)

Anonymous said...

I just moved from Seattle about a year ago!

I too am someone in the middle. I started out 100% Obama, but I wasn't thrilled about Biden being added to the ticket...and I am just plain getting sick of all of the commercials!