Friends, it is a gift to bring you the voices of others, and today’s invitation to listen, learn and listen some more to justice and reconciliation advocate Ashlee’ Thomas is no exception. So, please, snuggle up, take notes and heed her words to us today. I know I am. Also, proceeds from today’s post go to RAICES.
About a year ago I was spending my 30th birthday with my favorite people, drinking a Pimm’s Cup, eating delicious food, and soaking in a hot tub. My friends rented a house for the weekend to celebrate me with deep belly laughs and love that will last a lifetime. This two wing one could not have felt more cared for.
These are the moments that leave me unphased by my singleness or being a 30 something year old woman with no prospects; I am neither filled with dread or inadequacy.
You see, my life has always felt full, from the students whom I love to friends I call family. Most of the time I feel like there isn’t enough day to do all the things I want or spend time with the people who fill me with joy. Like so many things, this has all changed with the coming of COVID19.
Being single in this season has brought a loneliness that I cannot explain and a void that no Zoom call can fill.
In my faith we talk a lot about the love of God being like a mother, father, or a spouse, but that isn’t my story. I see glimpses of God in the community I hold dear and the moments we share; it is a love that is vast and wide. And while I know that this love still exists and is ever-present, I feel it less.
It leaves me feeling guilty, like somehow with the passing of Easter, I should feel like I’m living in a resurrected life, but ya girl still feels like she’s in a Good Friday world.
I know friends with kids may feel like they are drowning in sticky fingers, homeschooling, and not getting a second alone; but leave room for my drowning too. There is no hobby that can replace the community that I have lost in the last month. Nor can a midday walk, run, or workout substitute for a hug.
I think in the midst of all of this there is a myth that singles are living their best life and COVID19 is a vacation of sorts. For this extrovert I can assure you that it is not. The loss of connection has left me missing things I hate, like my church’s benediction, meet and greets, and staying out past 9 pm.
I long for the days I am back in my community’s arms, being reminded of a love that never left, but feels just out of reach.
Through this I’ve learned that everyone is just doing the best they can.
So let’s hold space for the friend who is fine, the parents who are struggling, the elderly who are isolated, and the singles struggling with loneliness. My hope for you is that we all may return to communities we call home.
Ashlee’ Thomas lives in Seattle, Washington. She works in the John Perkins Center at Seattle Pacific University. She has a deep love for justice, reconciliation, and advocacy.