Ministering Angels

"They neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those what are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So, What's New?

By Sarita

I was catching up with people recently, and I noticed that we all seemed to have the same conversation:

Them: "So, what's new?"
Me: "The job's great, I love where I live, and I'm involved in some fun hobbies."
Them: [Waits silently]
Me: "I've been promoted twice, I'm buying a house, and I ran three marathons last week."
Them: [Waits silently]
Me: "I visited Mars yesterday, I've running for Congress, and I recently found the cure for cancer."
Them: [Waits silently]
Me: "OK, fine. You win. No, I'm not dating anybody!"
Them: "Oh, isn't that too bad."

Friends, family--it's all the same. They listen politely to my updates, but what they're really waiting to hear about is my love life.

I'm guilty of this, too. In fact, "so, what's new?" in my conversations with single friends often seems to be code for "any new dating prospects?" or "how's that relationship going?"

Of course I want to know what my cousins, old roommates, and visiting teachers are up to. But when did dating become the only category of news that matters? When did it trump all other aspects of life? When did whole existences get reduced to the stark binary of dating or not dating?

I'm worried about this because I'm scared of internalizing the message that the rest of my life (you know: career, friends, interests, church) is just detritus orbiting around the central, massive fact of my singleness. If I buy into that cosmology and remain single, then I will be hollow and bitter; if I buy into that cosmology and get married, then I will be just as empty and without sense of self. Neither option is really appealing to me. I'd rather be pursuing things I love, developing character, and connecting with people, no matter my dating or marital status.

By making dating the unspoken focus of all catching-up chit-chat, we reinforce other cultural messages shouting that singleness looms larger than all other areas of life. It's also a lazy way to interact with people.

Yes, dating is a big part of the single life. But it's not the only part. And thank goodness for that! I can't control much of my dating life, but I can sure control other areas of my life. So, sometimes, ask me about the places I'm travelling to, ask me about my hardest projects at work, ask me about my beautiful car. Let the dating question fade from the foreground, and look at me.

I'll try and return the favor.

15comments

15 Comments

at 7/20/2005 3:13 PM Blogger Sarita said...

My (married) sister was checking out the blog and commenting on some posts she liked, but also made a very good observation. She mentioned, "for a group of people so dead set on proving that developing other factors of your lives during your singledom is important, you sure focus on being single a lot."

It's true. I guess that's why I havent posted in awhile. Trying to find a topic that is of interest with out making it all about my singleness, or how guys don't ask me out, etc. I don't think it's a bad thing to address, but I feel like I have been dwelling on it a bit too much.

 
at 7/20/2005 4:09 PM Blogger Mabel Maybe said...

Mars, Congress, and the cure for cancer. You're great!

 
at 7/20/2005 8:21 PM Blogger Jason King said...

Ditto on the greatness; the cancer thing has sure been a bugger!

I think your singleness is a good thing to address seeing as how much importance is placed on it from our society. Did you know that 18% of the women in the church never marry? Not to say that it will be the same for anyone here, but we neglect a large minority of women by creating such a false ideal of reality, i.e., only good married people get into heaven.

So, as long as you ascribe to the presuppositions of your society, you will continue to feel the angst of not fitting into their model. That is, unless you reach moksha.

 
at 7/20/2005 10:03 PM Anonymous Barb said...

Laura, I agree with much of what you said. I know that I reached a point where I really craved getting to know what people are thinking beneath the superficial level a few years ago. So while I am interested in relationships and dating, I really would rather know what you are thinking about your travels, your interests, your hobbies. If you actual dating somebody who you really click with and there is something worth sharing, then I am all ears! But I want to know the person first! :)

 
at 7/20/2005 11:08 PM Blogger Laura said...

Sarita, I had the same thought as your sister. Here's what I concluded: I certainly accept that being single is one of the things that describes me right now. I don't mind focusing on it in specific arenas (like in this blog explicitly about being single.)

I just object to singleness being my only descriptor, all of the time.

Jason S: where did you hear that 18% statistic? I've always heard much lower numbers. Also, moksha rocks.

 
at 7/21/2005 12:33 PM Blogger Sarita said...

here here laura.

 
at 7/21/2005 3:22 PM Blogger Melinda said...

I've got a group of friends that has mostly consisted of single women. Our catchphrase question is, "who's got a story?" Interpreted, that means, "who's been on a horrible date they can tell us about?" We don't even expect each other to start into relationships, so all the substantive conversation is about jobs, hobbies, callings, travel. They're going to fall over dead when they find out I'm actually dating someone. :)

And I tell you what, there is rejoicing out of proportion to the news in my family too. I mean, they were happy when I finished law school, got a job, went on a trip, and so forth. But getting into a serious relationship has really been a jaw-dropper. I can guess at why the huge difference. They can't really identify with finishing law school, and stuff like that, but they can identify with meeting someone wonderful (since most of them are married). Maybe part of the reason they're so excited is because this is something that they know something about.

On Sarita's comment, I agree that we are focusing on being single a lot. But hey, that's the reason we started the blog. I've got a lot of different things I could post on that have nothing to do with my marital status. But this is the place to explore how being single fits into my worldview and into my faith - because it is a huge issue, given what we believe about exaltation and eternal families.

 
at 7/21/2005 4:25 PM Blogger Sarita said...

I agree Melinda. I suppose that it would be better put that I felt like I was being whiny rather than productively addressing the issue.

Onward Ministering Angels!

 
at 7/21/2005 5:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting, Sarita, that stories about poop are considered funny (and I'm not disputing that), while stories about bad dates or insensitive family members are thought to be whiny or pathetic. I suppose it's because we're coming from two different sides of the status we're supposed to attain.

I would love to see a post and following thread some day listing what you like about being single. For instance, not long ago I found a killer deal to Paris on Expedia, told the people at work I needed to use my carryover vacation before I lost it, threw some clean jeans and some clean underwear into a bag, and went away for a guilt-free, responsiblity-free week on a total whim. And it was wonderful.

 
at 7/21/2005 5:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't mean this particular post. I'm not trying to threadjack here.

 
at 7/21/2005 10:55 PM Blogger Laura said...

Melinda,
My first thought was to congratulate you for dating someone, and then I thought, "Wait! Is that really something to congratulate on?" and then I thought, "Wait! Maybe I shouldn't say anything about it, but should ask about her hobbies instead!" and then I thought, "Wait! Laura, you're getting hypersensitive about single issues" and then I decided I need to relax.

Which is to say: Mazel tov.

Anonymous, your Paris story is great and makes me jealous. I was thinking about a post along the same lines, which is now up.

 
at 7/27/2005 9:00 PM Anonymous Barb said...

Wassup?

 
at 7/27/2005 11:15 PM Blogger Dirk said...

The ceiling!

 
at 8/02/2005 9:14 PM Anonymous Barb said...

lol. I think you have a lot more going for you these days that counting squares on the ceiling!

 
at 2/19/2007 5:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

 

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