"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:4-5
I hate to admit it, but one of the loneliest times of my week is Sunday morning. Sitting alone in a pew amidst a sea of happy couples and families, I listen to sermons about how to be a more God-honoring spouse and parent and to announcements about church- wide family picnics I won't attend because, as a single, I'd feel too out of place. When we had communion a couple weeks ago, it was served by the deacons — and their wives. As I sat staring at the lineup of smiling couples across the front of our church, I wondered where the single leaders were. And I've stopped going to church singles groups because they're usually too meat-markety or too depressing.
I know I'm not alone in my loneliness. My friend Julie told me about the singles group at her church, which she and her single friends had to start themselves, that was constantly shuffled from room to room on Sunday mornings to make room for kids and "adult" classes. And I've received e-mails from single readers like you who have stopped volunteering in the nursery because the insensitive yet well-meaning comments from the kids' parents have become too painful.
What makes these experiences even more disturbing is the growing trend in TV, movies, and books of celebrating us single people. Ally McBeal, Bridget Jones, and their fictionalized contemporaries portray singles as strong, savvy, and independent (albeit, at times, a tad neurotic). In fact, a recent Time magazine cover story called single women TV's It Girl right now. (As a single woman, I had no idea I'm so trendy!) In a recent column in Mademoiselle magazine, the editor explained stats that the single demographic is growing exponentially by saying "there's no longer a stigma attached to being beyond your early twenties and unmarried."1