I’ve run into a bit of a sticking point in my work on my new book, “The Grace of Yes”. In one of the chapters, I am looking at the concept of saying, “Yes” to love in our lives. I want to include all kinds of love, including the choice a single, celibate person makes to express love in his or her life.
But I’m at a bit of a loss. Just as when I wrote about step-parenting in The Handbook for Catholic Moms, I need a consult. While I was a single person for the first twenty two years of my life, that was over a quarter of a century ago and much has changed in our world since then. And I must admit that I was single by circumstance, not by choice.
I believe at that time my heart was set on finding a vocation to the married life. Blessedly, I married my soul mate at a young age and love has blossomed. I often ask myself, “What if?” Had I not fallen in love with Greg, how would my life have been different? Would I have chosen a religious vocation? Would I have worked somewhere as a missionary? Would I have been happy with a life dedicated to serving others and living on my own? I don’t know…But back to our single friends. I have many of them, and when I look at their lifestyles from the outside, it seems to me that they are people who are living lives filled to the brim with love. Let’s exempt for a moment folks who have chosen a religious vocation to the priesthood or religious life — they will be covered in another part of this chapter. Let’s talk simply about unmarried folks.
How do they say, “Yes!” to love?
It would be my contention that they affirm their love for themselves and for God through their choice to live a faithful single life. Additionally, many of the single folks I know are in a better position to serve those around them in their communities since they are free of familial encumbrances. They have solid friendships and a passion for making the world around them a better place.
Am I off base here? If you’ve been consciously celibate in the past or are single now, I would love to hear from you either in the comments here or privately to firstname.lastname@example.org. Edify me, please!