SINGLE BECAUSE

SINGLE BECAUSE

I have written about this rather annoying but constant question before: “WHY are you still single?!?” Whether one has never been married, or is single again, that is what everyone wants to know, as if we singles have nothing else in our brains about which to converse. You can almost visualize the little mental tallying process going on behind their foreheads, as they secretly work their gray matter, right in your presence, trying to ascertain what it is that is “wrong” with you. For there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ANYBODY over the age of 30 years old who does not have a mate.

Are they insane? Abusive? Sociopath? Addict? Cheater? Mentally ill? Secretly involved in an illicit affair? Gay, but afraid to come out? “WHAT is wrong with you”, their eyes seem to scream.

Becoming single again is a time when many of your married or coupled friends drop you off of their guest lists. I mean, what woman in her right mind wants a divorcee around their man, for all divorced women are desperate for a hook up, right? Or they do not want to mess up the seating arrangements at the dinner party, or try to find that “extra” to balance it out. For some, it is as simple as they no longer know how to relate to you.


There is even a local church that asks people to join hands during the offering if you are married, and who says they come into agreement with you if you are single. I’m sorry, but in my Bible it says there is no marriage in heaven. And that we are to be the bride of Christ. So by calling out the single people in the audience, to me is a discrimination that does not need to happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for some of us. A Christian is a Christian, married or single. Period.


And the fact is, though, that singles need their friends even more than others, for we have no significant other off of which to bounce our ideas, soothe our souls, or with which to just enjoy mealtimes. SIngle​ ​people​ ​still​ ​have​ ​a​ ​plethora​ ​of​ ​topics​ ​about​ ​which​ ​to​ ​converse:​ ​we​ ​still​ ​care​ ​about​ ​the weather,​ ​politics,​ ​religion,​ ​health​ ​issues,​ ​the​ ​economy,​ ​our​ ​workplaces,​ ​etc.


Some singles, like myself, are lucky enough to have married friends that they see on a regular basis. Not so much the dinner parties, but brunches, lunches & such are always enjoyable. But many of the singles I know just give up trying to be with their coupled up friends, & find one or more other singles to hang out with from time to time. Some just become semi-reclusive instead, sadly.

All of this being said, it hit me after a recent conversation with a group of single friends about “WHY we are single” that they were, each of them in that group, some of the very BEST all around people that I know. Could it really be true, do nice people just finish last? Is the nice guy who chivalrously opens doors setting himself up to be relegated to the Friend Zone?

After much pondering, combined with reflection on my personal experiences over the past 4-½ years, I have arrived at my own conclusions: The answer is that yes, indeed, SOME people remain single because they are O.C.D. or addicted to drugs or have other characteristics that are off putting to potential mates. But as for most of the singles I know, they do not fit into that category. I know men & women alike who are the salt of the earth – caring individuals with a lot to offer the right person – yet they remain single. WHY??


That is what I am here to tell you!

SINGLE BECAUSE …

… too KIND to lead people on when there is no true connection.

… too SMART to be led on, cheated on, or lied to themselves.

… too LOVING to settle for less than their heart’s desire.

… too STRONG to need someone to carry their weight.

… too much FUN to sit around with couch potatoes all day.

… too ENERGETIC to waste their lives.

… too BEAUTIFUL to allow someone else’s ugly inside.

… too POSITIVE to settle for negativity.

… too ADVENTUROUS to stop seeking.

… too INDEPENDENT to be owned.
… too GENEROUS to take advantage of generosity.


The long list goes on. If you are single, I am here to tell you, there are some really good men & women out there, waiting on someone just like you! If you are not single, I ask that you not judge us for preferring to spend our time walking our dogs or snapping photographs than pretending to care about someone so we can get a free meal, have our bills paid, or a roof over our heads. Though there are indeed single people who do the latter, they are not amongst my close friends, for we are definitely not kindred spirits!!

But just because we are single or single again, that does not change the essence of who we are – one does not suddenly become promiscuous because they sign divorce papers. If we were upstanding, trustworthy citizens prior to divorce, chances are we still are the same. Do not get me wrong – divorce does change people, often in less than becoming ways. However, it does not negate character.

The single people I know are often the very first ones to step up & offer assistance to those in need, or lend a helping hand to their neighbors. They do not care whether that friend or neighbor is married or single. So why should you???


I’m single. By choice. Don’t think I couldn’t find a man to pay my bills or be my meal ticket, if that’s all I wanted? But like many of my single friends, I want that relationship that actually is about more than money or sex. I want a soul connection, & I won’t settle for less than a gentleman with a heart like mine, who values love & loyalty far above luxury & lust. Someone that loves God, family & country. A man’s man that is secure enough  in himself that he does not need to prove his masculinity  by sleeping with every woman  aged 19 to 90 that he can find. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a human being with human desires. Being a lady does not mean that one is a prude. But being single does not mean that one is less the lady.


Cheers to all my single friends who value themselves enough to wait for the right relationship. And kudos to my friends who are couples that are supportive of all of us.


We are single because there is something right with us, not because there is something wrong with us! And those nice guys? They sometimes get a bad rap because they don’t play games that happen to be the same games that people supposedly don’t want to play. But I will let you in on a little secret: While we women do like to be chased, I’m pretty sure it is the bad boy, not the good guy who will finish last. The good guy will stay focused on his prize, valuing her as such, whereas the other guy will be so scattered chasing every little squirrel tail that comes by that he may end up never crossing the finish line and receiving a real trophy.

As for me? Boys, you can open my doors anytime! While I’m a true southern belle, which means that while I am strong enough and perfectly capable of doing it for myself, I do so appreciate a true Southern gentleman who knows that manners do matter! And I am always grateful when my guy goes the extra mile for me, and I am willing to do the same for him. I am from pioneering stock, and as most everybody knows, prima donnas and pioneers don’t belong in the same sentence! Just call me an old fashioned Bama Belle who knows the difference between a gentle man who is in touch with his inner scoundrel, and a bad boy who cannot be reformed. 

I’m Single, Because …!

  • Lou Lehman Sams 

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE 

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE

If you are a student in high school, they ask, 

“Where are you going to college?”

If you are a college student, they ask,

“What is your major?”

If you are a single graduate, they ask,

“When are you going to get married?”

If you are a young married, they ask,

“When are you going to have a baby?”

When you have your first baby, they ask, 

“When are you going to have another one?”

When you have had all of your kids, they ask,

“What are your kids doing?”

When your nest becomes empty, they ask,

“When are you going to retire?”

And my LEAST favorite question of all is …

When you become “Single Again”, they ask,

“WHY are you ‘still’ SINGLE?!?”


The inflection is as if being single at my age is a disease of some sort. I assure you, it is not! I am single by choice. I am single because I still believe in love. I am single because I refuse to settle. I am single because I would rather be alone than use a man whom I do not love for a big house, vacations, clothes, cars, & a Meal Ticket. 


Here’s the thing:

I’ve had the custom built, 3,700 some odd square foot house in the neighborhood that had a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a fishing pond. But I can do without all of that. I’d sincerely be content in a little log cabin by a quiet stream, so long as it was warmed by love. 


Like most readers, I like nice things. I always wanted both a beach house getaway & a cabin in the mountains. I could do without the regular house, if I had those, because I find so much peace in the beauty in nature. 


As I was going through my divorce, during which period I refused to date, I spent a lot of time with female friends, playing BUNCO, going out to eat, & indulging in Girl Talk. Sometimes I would cry, & tell them that I knew I was not as young as I once was, & I wondered if I would ever get a date, once the divorce was final. They always asked me what I was looking for in a man.


So I comprised a list, which I delivered tongue-in-cheek, akin to a mini Comedy Act. It went something like this:

“The first thing I need is TEETH. I DO live in Alabama, you know, & if you take a look at the guys at the gas station, many are missing teeth. I want at least a dozen! As a former Dental Hygienist, this is important to me!

Next, no beer bellies. I don’t do beer bellies, & if they look like they are about to deliver a baby at any moment, they are not the one for me. 

A sense of humor is mandatory! If they cannot handle my sense of humor, they won’t be able to handle me.

They need a brain, too. It is even better if they know how to use it!

And I understand that hair is optional at this age, but I do like hair! Preferably not a toupe that is about to fall off.”


That was it. By injecting humor into the whole topic of what I was looking for, I was able to entertain the inquisitor & change the subject at the same time, because inevitably we would get off on a side topic, like why people do not floss.


Finally, the divorce was final, & I had to describe, on a dating site, what I was interested in from a man. Totally different answers!! They went something like this:

“Loyalty is non-negotiable. A sense of humor is mandatory. Communication is key. Chemistry is essential. Everything else in a relationship can be navigated.”


Though I have always had a thing for blue eyes & biceps, I was mature enough to realize that those things are superficial. My first boy friend post divorce, did in fact, have a small belly, but he had other attributes that counterbalanced that. After two failed relationships in 3 years, though, I had to add that I would prefer it if they do not have any crazy exes lurking about. Those make for very stressful relationships, to say the least. 


After getting hit on by men I’d never even met from ages 25 to 75 who were proposing for me to jump in my car & meet them at the beach, the mountains, or wherever, I started adding that I am not interested in a one night stand or a hookup. Really. Had to specify that to keep them at bay. Then, had to add that I do not want to communicate privately with married men, or those whose divorces are not final yet. Such  is the world in which we live …


Eventually I have added that the potential suitor himself must not be crazy, either. But that is a mental note. Can’t exactly put on your dating profile that narcissists, sociopaths & psychopaths need not apply. As an Empath, I am a natural magnet for these guys, it seems, but it does not take long to figure it out.


I have now been “Single Again” for 4 years. I have learned so much about myself, such as the fact that I was pretty naive when I got divorced, & had no idea how to date in the modern world, but that is a story for another day. I know that everyone in these shoes has baggage & some of it I am willing to help carry, but some of it needs to be checked at the door. I am learning the difference between these men being physically &  emotionally available – two very different things! I have learned that there are some bizarre fetishes out there that were beyond the realm of my wildest imagination. To be clear, I do not even kiss on the first couple of dates, but some of these guys will just throw these things out there over appetizers on the first date! Yikes!! I guess that is really important to them, sort of like not dating a crazy person is important to me. Truly, I did not come this far in life to end up chopped into little pieces in the deep freezer of someone’s garage!!! (Maybe I should be nicer to those crazy exes in the future …?)

Finally, it has occurred to me, the most important criteria I seek, the one reason I am single: The key to my own heart lies hidden within His heart. 

What I mean by that is that my heart’s desire is a man who desires to have a heart like God’s. I am not talking about a “Jesus freak”, per se. And while some of my very happiest memories were Sunday mornings spent holding hands or sitting with a man’s strong arm about me in Church, I realize that organized religion is not for everyone. My beloved grandmother, as long as she was physically able, never missed a Sunday morning at Church, while her husband, my beloved  grandfather, stayed at home, drinking strong, black, coffee from the percolator & reading the Sunday paper. But he read his Bible, along with excerpts from the encyclopedia, every day. He had a quest for knowledge, a love for learning, and he definitely knew God. 

I want a man who knows God. Who relishes the laughter of children. Who appreciates sunsets and storms and the wind howling through the trees. Who can find contentment walking along the beach or working with his hands. Who gives of his time freely to help others. Someone who is kind. Who understands that no one is perfect, not even himself. Someone who is not angry at the world every day, but who makes allowances for others. Someone who loves unconditionally, is fiercely protective, and who can laugh at themselves and life’s curve balls. A man who means it when he says he will, “always love, always protect and always take care of me.” One who honors his word, rather than just giving lip service. One who spends his free time golfing or hunting or volunteering or doing something productive, rather than surfing Tinder.

Please understand that I have met some fantastic, kind, caring, and wonderful men since my divorce. I am blessed and proud to call many of them my friends! I am thankful for what they have brought to my life. Although I frequently make jokes about my search for the “perfect man, I am all too cognizant that no perfect man – or woman – exists on earth. And if one did exist, I would not want him, for I am far from perfect! 

But I am a one man woman, and I will settle for nothing less than a one woman man. And as much as I do still love blue eyes & biceps, I now know what I REALLY want: I want a man who, though it is impossible to achieve here on earth, strives to have a heart like His.

Until he finds me, I will be content with the One who ALWAYS keeps His word: He ALWAYS loves, ALWAYS protects, & ALWAYS takes care of me!! ALWAYS!!! Therefore, I do not have to settle for less than the best, for I already have it! That, my friends, is why I am still single. My guy is out there, somewhere, getting excited about hearing the laughter of little children at the upcoming holiday dinner, or helping a neighbor repair storm damage, because he is working on having a heart like His. The rest of the things – the hair, the eye color, the car, the house, the clothes – do not matter. My heart’s desire is to have His heart. 

(P.S. Not sure if I can give up on those teeth, though. Lord, let him have at least a dozen, please???)

– Lou Lehman Sams  

I TAKE SELFIES

I TAKE SELFIES 



 Not so long ago, if anyone would have predicted that I would be taking photos of birds, other people’s trees after it snows, my dog, or … Drum roll … Taking & actually posting selfies, I would have died laughing! I used to HATE birds. I mean I really DETESTED them! My mother made me stay up very late with her when I was a little girl & watch a re-run of that Alfred Hitchcock classic movie, “The Birds”, & I had nightmares for nearly a week after that. I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with birds!!! And a mockingbird used to swoop down & peck my cat, George Washington, on the head – he did this so many times that poor George had a bald spot atop his head. No lie. Not saying that George did not deserve it. He did, after all, have a propensity for killing birds, & he did destroy that bird’s nest, including its babies. Nonethless, when I was a little girl, birds were creepy critters that I wanted no part of participating with in any way.

However, when one finds oneself sitting outside, reflecting & ruminating during a protracted divorce, one takes note of the fact that there are 6 blue jays living in one’s yard. Fortunately, my cat at that time, Lucky, was not much of a hunter, & the only gift he ever brought home to my doorstep was those nasty little snub-nosed voles, & an occasional mouse.  I guess he did not have a taste for birds, or was not athletic enough to score one. Whatever the case, the jays were safe from him, & they would come & visit with us at the end of the day, as Lucky & I sat swinging to & fro in the splintered old wooden swing in the back yard. We would sit there for extended periods, until darkness fell, or a I saw a coyote wandering through the yard, in which case I would abandon my post & hasten indoors. I was telling a friend about all of the blue jays I would see, & she told me that they stood for persistence, which I sorely needed to survive that season of my life, so I thought that was apopros, given that I needed a lot of tenacity to survive the ordeal of a contested divorce process.



 After my divorce was final, when I moved into the townhouse, I could not believe it when heard myself say that I missed having a big backyard where I could see the stars & the BIRDS. But I did miss them. The house that I live in now has a great back yard with an expansive view of not only the stars, but also phenomenal sunsets! Yes, I take & post pictures of the sunsets, as well! And while I do not feed them, a variety of birds, including cardinals, blue jays, & bluebirds, frequently come & watch the sun set with me & my puppy. They come so often that I sometimes grab my camera  & snap pictures of them to share on social media. I know that there is at least a handful of people who are unable to get out due to illness or disability to enjoy these things in person, so I keep posting the pics for their benefit.  









 And during rare Heart of Dixie snowfalls, I was always too busy making snowmen, having snowball fights, eating snow cream, or making snow angels to take many pictures, let alone photos of other people’s trees. However, when you have six and a half inches of snow in your back yard, & only one tree, no kids to bundle up, no man to engage in a snowball fight, then a walk to see what is going on in the ‘hood is the next best thing. So I snapped pics of people’s trees, & an occasional snowman, & enjoyed a brisk walk just soaking in the scenery. Realizing that some people criticize & complain about how many photos others post, I nonetheless posted a bunch of the pics on FaceBook for my home bound friends & those who do not live here to enjoy, figuring if other people do not want to see them, they know how to use the scroll feature, & just scroll on by. 





 This brings me to the subject of selfies. Once upon a time, about a year or so ago, I used to cast a critical eye on a woman I knew who posted selfies of herself. I thought that meant that she was self-centered. But now that I have walked a mile or so in her shoes, those being that of a single woman living alone, I understand. Just because you live with another person who can take your photo for you, that does not mean that you should criticize someone who does not. What does it matter, anyway, who takes the photos? If your kids live many hours away, & you want them to see that you are faring well, you want to share your excitement about an event, or you need a current photo for that dating website, then you should, if you so choose, take a selfie. Again, if people do not want to see it, they can delete your profile, or scroll on by. My great-aunt, who is in her 90’s just told me yesterday to please keep posting pics, as she loves to keep up with people that way. 





 Last but not least, there is my precious & precocious puppy! No, he does not change much from photo to photo, but he was my companion to ring in the New Year, my partner in photographing the beautiful red-tailed hawk that was sitting on my fence one morning, my friend while walking the Greenway, my dinner companion, etc. etc. If I am going to photograph my life’s events, I cannot omit him. Some people’s pets are their best friends. You take & post pics of your best friends, so why should you care if someone else takes pics of theirs? I will stop & peek at their pups on the days when I have time to do so, will hit the like button for a pretty pic, & just scroll on by if I do not have time to do either. It’s just that easy! 







 Yes, I take selfies now. No, I do not take them at inappropriate times, such as during a worship service at Church, when I am dressed in my unmentionables, or when I’ve got a nasty scrape or bruise. Some things are best left to the privacy of one’s home. But God has shown me that it is okay to do simple things that make me happy, as long as they do not intrude upon someone else’s rights. My private social media pages are for viewing by people that I consider to be my friends. Like a scene from a movie that you do not wish to view, you can always just look away if you do not agree with something, or not buy a ticket to the movie at all. I am secure enough in myself that I am not going to let critics stop me from expressing myself as I see fit. And please do not let them steal your joy, either!! 

 I do not envy people, I’m not jealous of what they have, but  by the same token, I would gladly exchange taking pics of selfies for a boy friend, a husband, or kids at home to spend time with, & take photos of & with, so for those of you who are fortunate enough to have those things, perhaps you would please be so kind as to not be so critical of those of us who do not have them, please? While we are busy taking & posting pics of our puppies, you are snuggled up on the sofa watching a movie with the one you love, or going to watch your son’s baseball game, or reading a bedtime story to your grandkids. Perhaps I am just wired differently: but even when I was in a serious relationship with a man that I loved, whenever I saw a picture posted by a friend that was one of their dogs, a selfie, or some thing that they were having for dinner, I did not condemn them. I was always just happy to see that they were doing well, and enjoying life.

Yes, I look forward to the day when God will hopefully give me a special man with which to build a home, & I will be too busy sharing dinners, walks in the snow, or ringing in the New Year with him to take pics of birds, puppies, & neighbor’s snow laden tree branches, but until that time arrives, I intend to keep living life & enjoying the small blessings God sees fit to grant me, such as writing in my blog & taking photographs.

Haters are gonna hate. Rise above, & express yourself in the manner you wish, so long as you do not harm anyone in the process. I pray that you will find your own joy, & live your life in a way that brings you peace & happiness … 

 – Lou Lehman Sams

A NEW SONG

The “Calling” we find upon our lives at any given moment may not be the thing that we have always dreamed about doing. For instance, I find myself called to not only minister to people who are Single Again or Never Marrieds, but also to use my loquaciousness to raise awareness about what single life entails after the age of 30. I certainly never envisioned ministering to singles specifically, & I absolutely never thought that I would be a divorced woman at any age. But here I am, & here is this voice deep inside me that keeps whispering, repeatedly, that I need to communicate to others who have never walked this path what it is like.

It would take many, many blog posts to even scratch the surface of that issue, but I guess one must start somewhere, so here goes my feeble attempt to let people know that single people are still PEOPLE. Just because a man has never found the perfect woman to marry, or a man finds himself to be a widower, or a lady finds herself with the label of “Divorcee”, that does not negate the cold hard fact that we are still, each & every one of us, unique human beings with the same or similar thoughts, feelings, emotions & desires as are prevalent throughout much of the human race. Yet somehow, as if by magic, the moment one becomes “Single Again”, it is if a magic wand is waved over us, & we belong to a different realm, almost as if we are visible, yet unseen creatures, like the Homeless folks who stand on the street corners begging for a twenty dollar bill as the rest of the world sits filing their nails, adjusting the radio station, tilting the rear view mirror, fumbling for lip gloss, or phoning a friend – anything at all to keep from making eye contact, which would mean acknowledging existence of people whose hurt is messier than their own. Breathing a sigh of relief as that traffic light turns green, the world spirits away towards their next meeting, giving no thought to what the creature before them is thinking or feeling.

I will admit, God has fortunately used my years on this earth to shape, mold, & make me into the type of individual whom it is difficult to overlook. Though I am Single Again, I still manage to garner my fair share of invitations to events, & if I am not invited somewhere on an evening or weekend when I do not care to sit at home alone, I will strike out on my own. I am perfectly content to spend time with God, with myself, my camera, my IPad, my puppy, or with whatever stranger may find himself sitting beside me on a solo whitewater rafting trip. Yet I have discovered that there are numerous people who are sitting at home alone, aching with loneliness, because of invitations that never arrive, because they do not have a deep enough relationship with God to go on a solo date with Him, who are not blessed with 4 legged friends, or who are just plain fearful of going to an event or a restaurant by themselves.

When I was going through the prolonged misery of awaiting a court date in order that my divorce could be final, I remember distinctly the moment I got down on my knees, placed my face in the carpet, & with massive tears streaming down my face, I prayed to God above that if He would just get me through that divorce with provisions for my kids & not make them go into the courtroom, I would minister to other people who were in a similar position as me, which was living life in limbo, waiting for their day in court, hoping to find a place where they could dwell in peace. I was sincere. I meant every single word. However, there is absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for the avalanche that ensued. I actually had meant that maybe “one day”, when I had re-married, re-established a home, retired & had grandkids playing in my back yard, then I might teach a Singles class or something like that. Or that I would pray with women who were hurting due to divorce. Or some small thing that would help make someone feel better about themselves. Never in a millions years did I think that I would immediately have placed in my path TONS of both men & women who were hurting from divorce, death of a spouse, pending divorce, & the designation of being one of the people who had by choice or chance found themselves widowed, divorced, or they had never gotten married in the first place. But there they were – it seemed that everywhere I turned, there was someone who needed a friend due to one of these circumstances.

So they came – they still come – one by one, but in droves. A man who has a high profile in a nearby community emailed me, thanking me for my social media posts regarding faith, because he was healing from his own divorce. I found myself praying in restaurants with wait staff whom I had never met before. I encountered people in Meet-Up groups who needed a shoulder to cry on. I hugged complete strangers in Churches, as they succumbed to tears during the service. I got texts & calls from long & short term friends. All of these people had a commonality, which was that they were hurting, & they were lonely. Sometimes all of the sadness would just overwhelm me, & I would think, “God, I am also hurting & lonely, what about ME?” And that is when God would send someone else to minister to me – a stranger to give that hug at Church when it was my own tears falling like silent raindrops to the floor; a waitress to give me an exceptionally cheery smile when I ventured out to get a cup of coffee & a piece of pie by myself; someone from a Meet-Up group who would greet me & be happy to see me arrive; an email from someone letting me know that they were thinking about me – the list goes on. And I was fortunate: I had invitations to go to barbecues, to movies, to get coffee, etc.

However, I began to notice that, after my divorce was final, invitations from MARRIED friends began to dwindle until they are virtually non-existent. It seems that it is all right to be friends on Facebook, to get coffee together, or perhaps go to a Girls’ Night Out once in awhile, but there are no more invitations to group picnics, to watch the big football game on television, to go to the lake, or virtually anything else where spouses will be present. (I want to make note that I DO have two friends who are exceptions to this rule, & that they go out of their way to make myself & their other single friends feel welcome. However, they are the exception, not the rule, & not everyone is blessed with friends like them.) I am not entirely certain why that is, except that, as long as I had a “boy friend” that I was dating, it seemed that I was “safe”, but the minute that I broke it off with him, all at once most of the married ladies adopted an “at arm’s length” rule. I do realize that people are all different, but if a man or woman was moral, upright, & of good character before they became single again, they are most likely still that way – a change in their circumstances does not change who they are, & if they were not the kind of person to go after another person’s spouse before they became single again, they are more than likely still not that kind of person. (Sorry, just had to throw that in there.) It sounds a bit crazy to think that people would act that way, but they do. Case in point: I had to go to the gas station to get gas in my two plastic containers so I could cut the grass, something I had been unaccustomed to doing alone. The new gas containers can be very tricky to open – many are worse than taking off a child proof cap on a medicine bottle, & I had the misfortune of owning one of them. Try as I might, I could not get the top off in order to pump gas, so I asked the gentleman who was at the same pump as me if he could please open it. I had no idea if he had on a wedding band, if he was handsome by most standards, or even what he was wearing, only that he was in front of me, a male who might know how to open it, & that I did not want to hold up the line behind me. As he also struggled to open the cap, he explained that he actually had taken a screwdriver to his container that was identical to mine, such that the spring is gone, & he can now easily open & close it, so that even if it is not as safe as it should be, he can use it. We started to chuckle at his attempts to get the top off, & all at once a woman on the other side of the pump, who had already finished pumping gas, had sat down in the driver’s seat, & was ready to leave the station with the kids that were in her min-van, well, she got back out of her van, came across onto our side of the pump & said to him, “Aren’t you so & so’s HUSBAND?” The pointedness of her question was not lost on me. She did not ask, “Aren’t you Don? Or Jim? Or Steve?” (Or whatever the man’s name was – she made it clear to me that he was a married man, & in her opinion, he should not be laughing with me.) Now, I was a hot mess from doing yard work, in dire need of a shower, & without make-up, so there is no way I was on a “man hunt.” And if I was, I certainly would not go to a gas station to find one, ha ha. I explained to the lady that I needed help opening that container. She gave me that “Sure you did” smile, then said again, “Well, I just wanted to make sure that was you, & that you are So & So’s HUSBAND!” I will not divulge what sort of smile I sent back her way, but anyway, not all single people are constantly out looking for a spouse, & we certainly are not all looking out to steal one!

I have also been made acutely aware how awkward dining out alone can be. If you dare go to a nicer restaurant during rush hour, the host or hostess may or may not glare at you as you ask to be seated. Again, I usually smile at most people so I have not found this to be a big problem with me personally. However, I have noticed a trend, & single friends have told me that one reason they do not like to dine out by themselves is that they do not want to pay good money only to be relegated to a table beside the restroom. (So THAT is why that little table is sitting within 3 feet of the Men’s Room door?) Anyway, I have had a couple of issues like this, as well, & one of them was at a barbecue establishment in Gatlinburg, TN. It was well past rush hour, & the restaurant was nearly empty, so I felt no compunction asking the young host for his “very best table for one.” He said, “No problem!” as he started to seat me in the bar area. I told him that I did not wish to dine in the bar area, but would like a nice table in the dining room. I explained to him how many single people get seated with a view of the restrooms or the kitchen. He said, “I understand” as he proceeded to sit me in a booth facing the KITCHEN!! Since all of the tables, save one, with a view of the town, were empty, & the place would be closing in one and a half hours, I assumed that the other stations were closed, & resignedly sat down & ordered my meal. I was shocked to see that the next four parties of two who entered the dining room were each seated by the windows with the view. I was not trying to get free food, but asked for the manager – my first step towards raising awareness of the things that Single Again people encounter in the world. Well, he did not offer me any free food, but sat down at my table & proceeded to talk to me the entire time I was eating my dinner! I think that he felt sorry for me. I did not want pity. I did not want him to entertain me while I ate. (Actually, it was a tad annoying). I did not want free food. I just wanted to be treated like a person again, & not relegated to a corner, where one places people who are somehow unclean or something.

Attending Church is another big hurdle for Single Again folks. Some join Singles Groups. I know some that just stop going altogether, because they feel uncomfortable entering & exiting the service alone. Others stay at home & watch the service online or on television, & we are blessed to have many Churches in our area that offer that service. Personally, I kept going to a Church that I had attended with a gentleman that I had dated, only to go week after week & have no one other than the Greeters speak to me, except during the “forced” greeting time. I finally decided that, although I really enjoyed the sermons & that I was finding healing there, I was going to stop going & go to one of several Churches that one of my many Single Again friends attended. That way, I would not feel like such an oddity whenever the offertory prayer was given, instructing husbands & wives to join hands. (Are we not ALL supposed to be “Brides of Christ” while we are at Church?? That one still throws me, because it “singles out” SINGLE people!) Anyway, one Sunday, I was sitting in front of a couple that I knew only in passing because our sons used to compete against each other in school sports, & I could not control my sadness during part of the worship service. This woman was so incredibly discerning, sensitive & KIND to me! She hugged me during the greeting time! She told me after the service that it was good to see me. And she invited me to come back again – so I DID! Please do not get me wrong: I do not go to Church to socialize. I love to smile & give a wave or “Good morning!” in return when one of the official Greeters acknowledges me. But I also know that there are many SINGLE AGAIN or Never Married people who are not as extroverted, not as well known, not as well connected, not as bold, or who are just afraid to go to Church alone, & who are aching for a Christian brother or sister to do what this sister did for me, & that is to make them feel like they belong, regardless as to whether or not they are married, have a significant other, etc.

I am not alone in these observations. I attended a Women’s Conference yesterday, & the speaker said that one way that Boaz showed love to Ruth was “By SEEING her.” The speaker then asked, “Who has God asked YOU to see?” Now, there are MANY hurting people in this world, & some of them are married. But please, do not overlook the elderly widow, the 50-something year old man who has never been married, or the recently divorced lady who has no relatives in town when you are deciding who you will “SEE”. The speaker’s Bio in the program mentions that she once had struggles with anxiety & depression, & that is what drives her ministry. I can tell you from personal observation & first hand experience that people who suddenly find themselves Single Again, are prone to BOTH of these, & if there is no one there to not only SEE, but to minister to them, they are at risk of spiraling downward into an abyss that is difficult to get out of alone.

As for me, I am all right with most all of the social stuff, because I am somewhat of a “Social Butterfly”, but one of my personal biggest struggles is figuring out how to do household maintenance. They do not teach a class on this, & I have no one here in town to assist me when my son is away at college. I have had more than my share of misadventures with my riding lawn mower, my lawn mower & my weed eater. Prior to my divorce I had never painted an interior room. Never even changed a battery in a smoke alarm. While I wish I had a resident Alpha Male on call, I am not the sort to take advantage of friends, so I try to do these tasks on my own, as much as possible. I am blessed that I can ask a maintenance related question on Facebook, & within an hour or so, have multiple helpful replies from caring people to enlighten & educate me on how to proceed & what to do next. But many people are not so blessed. I’ll bet if you stop & think, there is someone in your neighborhood that could use a helping hand from time to time.

Cooking at home is also a dilemma for some Single Again folks. Some still have kids at home on a full or part time basis. But for the ones that live alone, cooking a home cooked meal for one can be a daunting task, not to mention an expensive one. I applaud my friends that regularly prepare nutritious meals for themselves, & who set the table, ask a blessing, & use real dishes instead of paper plates. Single people deserve to treat themselves as well as they treated their families when their kids were at home. As for me, I have set a goal to do such a meal at least once a week. The rest of the time, it is take-out, dining out, frozen pizzas & leftovers. (An aside: Have you noticed that Supper Clubs are primarily for COUPLES?) I used to have a dream of inviting one of the service men or women serving on base in our town over for a holiday dinner. However, that dream did not materialize, & they have moved most of the soldiers elsewhere. But I have always, somewhere in my mind, been cognizant of the fact that some people are all alone – yet I never ever imagined that I would one day be one of them. I have accepted God’s decision for my life at this point, & I am at peace with it. I am determined to make the best of it. But part of that entails answering His tugs at my heart strings to make other’s aware of just how very sad & depressing it can be dining alone night after night, all the while smelling the steaks cooking on the neighbor’s grill, or hearing the laughter from the Pool Party down the street. Someone that you know needs to be included in something you are hosting! Who is it??

Dear reader, if you have made it this far, have you thought about inviting that single man that lives down the block over to join you & your family for a home cooked meal one night? Or the single lady who works with you over to your Super Bowl party? Or any of the other single people that you know to do something “normal”, like going to one of your kids’ ballgames, attending a dinner party, or one of the other mundane & ordinary everyday things that they may now be missing from their lives? They are Single Again – they have lost their spouses; many of them have moved residences; some have changed jobs; some are adjusting to a loss of income, thus a different lifestyle; some are economically challenged as they struggle to re-gain their footing – but they are not dead. They still desire friendship & companionship. While they enjoy spending time with other singles, they miss the friendships that they had while they were still married. They need your smiles, cards, invitations & encouragement. They need you to do more than just SEE them. They need you to HEAR them, HUG them, & extend the hand of friendship to them. Yes, Single Again people have had a life-changing circumstance, but so have people who become ill, people who go off to fight for our country, people who get married, or people that have kids, Just because their circumstances may not line up exactly with yours, that does not make them any less God’s children. Being Single Again does not mean that people are Lepers!

Please do not misunderstand: I have some single friends who are very well-adjusted, who are not anxious, depressed, or down about their lives. I have been blessed with some very optimistic people in my life who make the best, regardless of their situation. As the speaker said yesterday, you can “let your hardship DEFINE you, or you can let it REFINE you.” I am so very thankful for my single friends that have chosen the latter – they are not going to let their singleness define them! They go to Church, walking, on vacations, shopping, dining, etc. with friends, family members, or by themselves. I even have a Single Again friend that will even take herself to a concert, or go out dancing by herself. I am pretty brave, but I am not quite there yet. But I am so very proud of her, that she is not going to let the fact that she is Single Again keep her from enjoying her life! That is each of our right: enjoy the abundance that God has blessed us with, & to sing, dance, & praise Him even when our coffers are not as full as they were when we were not single. Yet fear, like the Pastor said this morning, “Debilitates & paralyzes” people. While he was not specifically referring to these situations, it does apply when they become Single Again. If you are married, & know a Single Again person who seems stuck in a rut, please prayerfully consider helping them get out of it. If you are Single Again, please take care of yourself: cook yourself a meal that is not frozen & does not come in a cardboard box; insist on a good table with a view when you dine out alone; if you do not have an invitation to watch the Iron Bowl, throw your own party; & if you want to go out & dance, then DANCE! Being Single Again does not have to mean that you silence the music in your soul, rather it gives you a new song to sing – do not be afraid to sing it!!

The speaker yesterday – her name was Kelly Minter – she asked each of us to write down a personal response regarding something we got out of that seminar. And this was mine: “Yes, I am a ‘Divorcee’. But I will not give up my calling by allowing my circumstances to define me – I will persist. I will move forward with the ministry that God has placed on my heart, which is to write, speak, & teach. That has been my calling for as long as I can remember. My song may be different, & the audience may have changed, but I will do what God has placed on my heart to do.” And I am beginning today, right now, with this blog. There are Church groups that will no longer desire me to speak to them, because I am now a divorced person. That is certainly their right. But that is not what I perceive that Jesus would do, & I feel pity for them. Some people are divorced due to Biblical reasons. Others are not – perhaps it was their own sin that caused the divorce. Regardless, the Bible says, in the book of Romans, that “ALL have sinned & fallen short of the Glory of God.” No matter what YOUR personal circumstance may be, please do not let fear paralyze YOU – please do not let YOUR circumstances DEFINE you – rather turn to the One who is never afraid, & let what you are going through REFINE you, so you can move forward with your own calling, whatever it may be!!!

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth …” ~ Psalm 96:1

~ L.L.S.