Where Is the Song for the Absent Things?

I've been feeling kind of low lately. Kind of empty. And I know that when [on the rare occasion that] I post [at all lately], it's usually some kind of administrative information or it's humorous. Or, at least, an attempt at humorous...ness. But I'm not feeling the humor so much tonight.

Maybe it's the let-down of coming home from PJs@TJ's, to which nothing else can compare in AWESOMENESS. Maybe it's because I've been living by myself for almost three weeks while Sister is out of town for job training. Maybe it's because I've been spending a lot of time with Godson and his mom, who is pregnant with a new Godson or Goddaughter due this summer and who has TWO nieces on the way as well. Or maybe it's because there were potato chips on sale a few weeks ago and I didn't buy them. Who can tell?

Whatever the trigger happened to be, I have spent the better part February incredibly lonely. And not just lonely "for the company of other human beings." Because when I feel that the house is overwhelming in its quietude, I pick up the phone or I hop in my car and I connect with other livings beings (who are not cats intent on smothering me in my sleep). It's not that I'm craving human contact, it's that I'm craving a particular human. Whom I haven't yet met.

I think it will come as a surprise to exactly NO ONE who has been reading this blog for more than a minute that I am single. S-I-N-G-L-E single. And that this is not by choice. I mean, yes, I could have chosen to throw myself at anything male with a pulse and I would be in a relationship right now, if that was all it took. So when I say ""not by choice" I guess I should say that I'm not living out my twenties in some quest to "find myself" or "put myself first" or "have a career because love and family is for later" or "casually date around with no strings attached" or even "enjoy what single life had to offer" (I'm also not saying those are poor choices; they're just not MY choices... But you get that, right? Because you're smart and cool and we're friends. Which means this parenthetical is actually kind of useless. So I'll use it to say hello to my mother: "Hi, Mom!" There, that's better).

If it had been up to me and not my Heavenly Father (and a decent amount of logic, parental advice, and, oh yes, A COMPLETE LACK OF OPTIONS), I would have gotten married sophomore year of college and would have 1.5 kids already... is what I'm saying.

And while this is probably sounding like a midnight pity party, thrown by an insecure Junior High girl and attended by zero guests (because, duh, LONELY!), I feel like this has been on my mind and heart lately and I need to get it out. And I realized, "Hey! I have a blog! For my thoughts! And I'm having a few of them right now!" AND? I'm not actually asking for pity. Shut up! I mean it! I'm just trying to put into words what I'm feeling. Because I cannot possibly be the only one who has ever felt this way and I strongly believe that the Internet was created for "ME, TOO!" moments (well, and probably porn, but we're not talking about that, okay?). So bear with me, will you, my friends?

You see, I think we spend a lot of time talking about loss. On television, in movies, in books, or in song. We read about heartbreak and we talk about death. We sing about the pain of losing someone or of being unable to make it work. But where is the song for the Absent Things? The things we never had in the first place, so we cannot mourn their passing?

Because the pain is there. At least for me. And I figure for others as well. There is an ache in my heart and an emptiness in my life that cannot be explained in simple terms. It's not loss. And it's not even rejection. In fact, I'm struggling right now with how to tell you without sounding like a sadsack loser who is begging the Internet to marry her.

Because I have a good life. A warm bed. A full belly. A safe home. I have more than over 80% of the world's population. And I need you to understand that I an NOT complaining about those things. I am incredibly grateful for the blessings in my life.

Including my family. I have a wonderful set of parents that live less than five miles away and love me in a way that I wish every kid in the world got to experience because I'm pretty sure we would not have wars or violence if everyone grew up loved the way my parents loved me. And I have a fabulous Sister who is also my best friend and whom I never want to live without. And I have a brother and sister-in-law who live five miles away (in the other direction) who are a delight and an example of what young married love can be. And I have another brother and sister-in-law and a niece (and a niece or nephew on the way) who have been a constant joy in my life and who I wish were able to live closer.

I have a family.

But I do not have a Family with a capital F. A husband. Children of my own. And there is an emptiness where they should be which does not, in any way, negate the love my family has for me or that I feel right back at them. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the desire to fill this void is a direct result of the wonderful life I have lived. I want to share it with someone.

At the risk of angering or offending women with infertility issues, I'm going to make a VERY LOOSE comparison. Since I've never tried to have a baby, I fully admit that I cannot know the depths of the pain or emptiness a family feels when they cannot have children. But in some ways, I wonder if we have something in common: for all my wishing and hoping and trying and waiting, I cannot just MAKE THIS HAPPEN for myself. And it's something that seems to have come so easily for almost everyone else around me.

Since I was in High School, the world has been pairing off around me. And when I look at all of the people I interact with on a regular basis, 95% of them are married, most with their own Families. And while everyone's "how we met" stories are personal and unique and required a certain amount of waiting and hoping and risk and whatever else, they have also ALREADY HAPPENED. They met, they fell in love, and BAM! happily ever after.

I know. I know. It's never that easy. And there are plenty of single people still out there, waiting and hoping just like me. And I'm pretty sure that SOMEDAY I will meet the man of my dreams and fall in love and BAM! happily ever after. And I will look back at all my fretting and loneliness with a kind of fondness, knowing it all paved the road that lead me to him or some other sentimental ridiculousness that is probably still true despite how sentimental and ridiculous it all seems. And I KNOW that I do not want to get ahead of myself and marry the wrong man and then end up alone ANYWAY. And I AM trusting the Lord to bring me the right man at the right time (mostly... some days... I'm trying, okay?).

But can we just stop for a moment and recognize that there is pain in the waiting? That the wanting and yearning to share your life with someone is actually UNCOMFORTABLE and LONELY and IT HURTS? That there is a space that cannot be filled by anything other than Family with a capital F and until that happens, that space is EMPTY and yet still PRESENT?

That is what I am feeling this week. A hole in my heart where HE and MY KIDS should be. A hole that will someday, by the grace of a loving and merciful God, be occupied by exactly what I need. And that will maybe not hurt so badly tomorrow if I can just find some rest in a yet-again-empty bed. That is all.

Thanks for listening and have a good night.

And can you do me a favor? Can you kiss your spouse or hug your kids and whisper a thank you for your own empty space that isn't so empty anymore? On behalf those of us still waiting?


  1. Sarah Pearson3/1/12, 3:28 AM

    No pity here, only sympathy. And a hug.

  2. elaine4queen3/1/12, 11:08 AM

    i know this. over the years i have had a series of relationships, and between times i always seemed to have quite long breaks. not because i wanted to, just that you can't simply order up a good relationship, and i am not terribly keen on make - do relationships.

    i loved that you said "And can you do me a favor? Can you kiss your spouse or hug your kids and whisper a thank you for your own empty space that isn't so empty anymore? On behalf those of us still waiting?" what a lovely sentiment.

    try not to worry about what other people are doing, though. things are not usually quite as they seem from the outside. just be your awesome self and someone good will certainly come along.

  3. I have felt this exact thing. Desperately wanting something that will be lasting and real, but also thinking why is it taking so long?! For what it's worth in my case if I had met my now husband when I thought I was ready for him it would have been bad. He is 4 years younger than me so he would not have been option.

    If nothing else the wait will make you exceptionally thankful and appreciative of your man when you meet him. But for now you aren't alone in feeling that it suuuuckkksss.

  4. APrinceAndProzac3/1/12, 1:30 PM

    You're wonderful. This was a very "me too" inspiring post. I felt this way for years and it was hard, and I hate how this is one of those feelings where you aren't quite sure if you're allowed to feel like it's hard, you know? Like you should be thankful that being lonely and single is the worst part of your day.

    But you know what? No. Just, no. Feeling how you've described is hard, and it's great that you're honest and open about it. You are also lucky that you know what you want. You post reminded me of these Tom Petty lyrics: "The waiting is the hardest part". (I need to listen to that song now.)

    You'll get yours- you'll get your happily ever after. Believe that tomorrow will be better.

  5. While I did not spend my time waiting for God's timing (I believe in God, but I do not have the depth of faith you seem to--I applaud your commitment to Him), I did spend a lot of my late teens/early 20's believing that I would simply never find anyone to love me. I had been rejected many times over by people that I cared deeply about, and I had withdrawn from that sort of scene, not really having any hope. But then my fiancee asked me if I wanted to date her, and we've been together for (almost) three years now, and I really think that the hurt I'd experienced before was all in preparation for being able to truly appreciate the happiness and joy I have now that she is sharing this life with me.

    TL;DR--I know that it hurts, and I can understand that ache and insecurity and confusion. But cling fast to your hope and your faith! You are a clever, funny, charming person (at least, from your writing), and there IS someone in this world who will love and appreciate you for who you are.

    /internet hugs

  6. I actually had to step away from the computer a moment after I read this, to wipe away a tear or two from my eyes and compose myself, because oh! You have it *exactly* right, this loneliness and emptiness and HURT.

    You find the words where I cannot. So I will sing the song for absent things and know that it was you that gave me the lyrics.

  7. I get that feeling, and I have been happily (mostly) married for almost nineteen years and had the kids. . . I don't know what it is that I am missing or that I'll ever find it if I haven't by this time.

    However, I'm sure you will find what you are missing. Or it (HE) will find you, where you last expected.

  8. I just want to give you a big hug. It will happen for you, and when it does you will know to appreciate it more than most people ever think to. And because of you, I will think to appreciate what I have even more so. You said it so well when we were in AZ, that the husband and kids and everything that goes along with it, THAT is what you want for yourself. Most people look at me crazy when I say "all I ever want to be is a mom" and they just don't understand that. I will be thinking of you.

  9. I'm 40 and feel the exact same way. I too am single NOT BY CHOICE. HE is out there...for each of us.