Sick Of Love

Sorry if this picture is graphic. It just cracked me up so much I had to use it.

Image

(Before I start this post, I am trying to get out to Mexico City to teach a YWAM base there. Does anyone have connections there where I could play music, lead worship, or teach? You can contact me through my website, katehurley.com. Thanks!)

When I tell people that I am writing a book about being a single Christian, we inevitably get into conversations about the challenges of dating in the aftermath of the Christian Dater’s Hell that was the 90s. About our fears of getting older and still not having a family. About how Christian guys would rather clean every bathroom in grand central station with a toothbrush than ask us out on a date because of the pressure they feel to get married too fast.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

These conversations make up about eighty percent of my communication with other human beings lately. Which is not really that bad because women talk about men seventy percent of the time even if they are not writing a book.

I have also had my heart broken pretty badly in this season, which makes me infinitely more aware of my singleness and the loneliness that became so evident after that happened. Right now, I am not just love sick, I am sick of love. Of thinking about love. Of talking about love. Of reading about love. Of writing about love.

So today I am protesting. I don’t care if this is supposed to be a blog about dating and not dating and all of that. I am talking about something else.

Let’s talk about the pope. The pope’s hat is so tall, isn’t it? Is it because they inevitably choose short men to be the pope and less than 3% of CEO’s are under 5’ 7”? No one but the pope could wear a hat that looks like a huge christmas tree ornament to make him look tall. Why not wear a two foot hat? I would if I were the pope.

Hmm remember that time that my x-boyfriend was having a job crisis and said “Kate, maybe I will just go to school to be the pope so I can stand in a little glass box and wave at the people. That would be nice.” I wonder where he is now? He was so fun. We had a hard break up but he was a great guy. Maybe I was being too picky???

Oh dang it! I am talking about love again!

Okay, how about we talk about France? I got to go to Paris during an eight hour layover on the way to Germany and it was fabulous. The people were not as mean as everyone said they would be, but that might be because a clever friend gave me a Canda patch to wear on my backpack.

Speaking of France, I wonder why they are called French fries? The national food of America is All Things Fried so you would think that those were invented here. I also wonder why they call it French kissing. Man it’s been a long time since I’ve been kissed.

Ahhhh! No no no!

You see, even if I make a conscious effort to stop thinking about love, it seems impossible. Love is freaking everywhere. Almost every movie has some form of a love story in it. Most songs are about new love, wishing you had love, love that lasts forever, love that kicked you and your dog out the door without your boots on.  It is difficult for us singles to have this love saturated culture around us because it makes us so aware that we don’t have it.

If we are not careful we can become very self absorbed.

Okay, I’ll just say it: I have become very self absorbed.

I soak in all of the love culture like a sponge and then it absorbs into me in forms of jealousy and heartache and loneliness and not understanding God’s will. And I am becoming more cynical and more sad and more absorbed. (I wonder what the word absorbed means in latin. Let’s see, what are some other words with ab in them? Above, absence, absolve, abdominal. Wow, that guy jogging past certainly has nice abs. Oh no! Hold yourself together Kate!)

Ahem, sorry about that. Back to my post.

I am reading a book called Tattoos On the Heart right now. It is the memoir of a priest they call Papa G who started Homeboy Ministries in LA. He is like a father to countless gang members. Former enemies will work side by side at Homeboy Bakery or Homeboy Silkscreening. It is amazing. It is the best book I have read in a long time. I am crying crying crying almost every page. Each story touches a deep place in my heart. The part of me that really wants to love rather than to be so blatantly aware that I am not loved.

Papa G is surrounded by the same love stories and love culture that we are and he is a priest. He will never have a traditional family. But he chooses to be absorbed in a different way than my own self absorbing. He absorbs the pain of the gang members around him. Like a sponge. Because there is no one else in their lives to care about the extraordinary abuse and pain that they have endured. Over and over again, these hardened men come into his office breaking down, telling him their real names that no one else knows, letting him love them.

Papa G has not allowed himself to be surrounded by the absence of love, he has chosen to surround others with love.

This book came at a very appropriate time in my life. I have been crying on a regular basis lately. I have had a lot of time on my hands as I have not gotten many shows and am home almost every day alone writing this book and songs for my new album. I am often so lonely. I hate it. I have even gotten to the point of getting angry at God.

But I have been inspired by this book. I am looking into doing a lot more volunteer work with inner city kids and am even thinking about finding a part time job working with at risk youth or the homeless. I’d have to give up touring to do this most likely, but I think it might be worth it right now.

Because I am not just sick of thinking about love. I am sick of not loving.

I cannot control whether I have a husband or not. It’s not like getting a degree or a job, something that you can achieve if you work hard at it. I have worked hard, and it just has not worked out.

I can’t even control God and make him give me what I want. Not if I pray enough, not if I fast, not if I do enough good things to earn myself family. I don’t understand why, and I can’t understand why right now.

The one thing that I can control is that like Papa G, I can wake up tomorrow and take steps towards building my own family. This is kind of scary for me because it makes me think that I might be giving up on a blood family. But there are a lot of people out there whose blood family has left them. And they need love. If I do end up having a blood family, I will have learned to love in ways that I could not have if I had holed myself up in my room and watched stupid love movies all day.

It’s time. It’s time to stop thinking about the love I don’t have and give the love that I do have.

Tell me about your own experiences with this. How has culture made you struggle more with your singleness? Have you found ways to build your own family?

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22 thoughts on “Sick Of Love

  1. Wow Kate!! No joke…you just pretty much put my thoughts down on paper (but you did a way better job then I could have). I have also been feeling consumed with my thoughts on love and lack there of, to a point that the other day I did tell a friend, I feel selfish and that I think of myself to much, think of relationship stuff to much and need an outlet to think of myself less. I work full-time, so I do have that to keep me occupied but even still, I find myself at my desk just wanting to cry. Even now, I came home real quick before heading to the prayer house at Bethel and just wanted to cry, then saw I had an email and read your blog. Really, thank you for bringing clarity to my thoughts and knowing that I am not alone in how I am feeling/thinking right now.

  2. I’m just gonna say WOW, and say how thoroughly convicting that was. I’m also feeling that I’ve been rather sinfully self-absorbed lately in the whole “Will I EVER find someone who doesn’t want to ‘just be friends?'”

    I think I need to get Papa G’s book, read it, let it break my hard heart, and start giving the love I DO have to give. Thanks, Kate.

  3. This is fantastic! I’ve been thinking a lot about similar ideas lately, about living life where God has me instead of always wishing for the next season or someone else’s life. I was recently struck (yet again) by Jeremiah 29. Verse 11, of course, talks about God having a plan for Israel, to return them to Jerusalem, but verses 5-7 are all about investing in Babylon and building lives where they were. Being single is not an excuse for us to sit on the side lines and throw ourselves a pity party; it is an opportunity to use our gifts and love others in unique ways.

  4. I was sick of love before I ever started dating. I thought the whole dating thing just seemed so ominous and I figured I’d probably be single into my 30s if not forever. Then I met this guy when I was 19 and we were married within a matter of months.

    Now I am in my 30s and divorced and completely in love with love. My life went exactly the opposite direction of how I thought it would go. You really never know what is going to happen but I am certain I will neither lack for love again nor do I plan on getting married again. Go figure.

  5. I have always thought that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had a profound life lesson as the wacky inventor sings to his children…
    —–
    What makes the battle worth the fighting?
    What makes the mountain worth the climb?
    What makes the questions worth the asking?
    The reason worth the rhyme?

    Caractacus:
    To me the answer’s clear;
    it’s having someone near; someone dear
    Someone to care for; to be there for.
    I have You Two!
    Someone to do for; muddle through for.
    I have You Two!
    Someone to share joy or despair with;
    whichever betides you.
    Life becomes a chore, unless you’re living for
    someone to tend to be a friend to.
    I have You Two!
    Someone to strive for, do or die for
    I have You Two!
    Could be, we three get along so famously,
    ’cause you two have me, and I have You Two too.
    —-
    I spent 8 years in almost full-time ministry to at-risk kids; I nearly burned out but I will say that I would not trade any of those years of singleness (or any of “my” kids) for all my childhood dreams. During that time I always said “God kept me too busy” to get married, and it was pretty much true. My situation has changed now, but the principle still holds – the more I’m focused on others and service, the less I’m stuck on “what’s wrong?!” It also helps to find “families” to love and be loved by.

  6. Love! As a teacher, those kids become my kids and I love and worry and pray over them. However, it’s amazing how much time I spend at school because I’d rather be there than go home to an empty house. Loving and serving others is definitely a good way to dull the longing and remind me of the multiple blessings that I am continually recieving. Praying for you as you continue walking and trusting!

  7. Kate, your comment about being alone in your house all day really struck home for me. I’m living in Nicaragua doing foster care work, and after my first foster daughter left, I was completely alone in a foreign country with barely any friends for 1.5 months.

    I know what that’s like. I could barely sleep at night because of the empty house, and sometimes it was either dawn or nearly there and I still had not slept. Staying on the internet to be able to skype with a friendly face from back home, reading constantly to just hear someone else’s thoughts on paper and feel a connection to another human being…it was rough. Really rough.

    And then, one week ago today, I got a call from the dept. of family asking if I would take a 5 year old girl. Of course I said “yes”! Her name is Meyling, and she has Down Syndrome, and we are having a blast together. In just the past 7 days she’s started walking on her own, saying more words, and today she even fed herself with a spoon! And best of all, she calls me “Mama”. I wake up every morning to the sound of her chanting, “Mama! Mama! Mama!”

    I have really struggled with being single and alone the last 5 months I have been in Nicaragua, and especially the 1.5 months when I was completely by myself. Now, however, I feel almost full. I still miss having a community and friends to be able to meet and talk to, but my life usually feels so very full since I moved here. Empty of community and yet full of purpose, I guess. And some days I don’t even notice the lack of community. Others it hurts like crazy. Today was a mixed day. Life is crazy. Humbug. 🙂

    • Thank you for this! I have really thought about adopting and it is inspiring hearing of all these single people working with foster kids. It’s awesome! May God bring you peace and hope in this season.

      • Thanks, Kate! I’m actually going into Managua next week to meet with the dept of family there about adopting. I had thought for the last six months I was unable to adopt as a single here, and just discovered that was not the case. I believe I am supposed to adopt now as a single, (or rather, I know God has told me to start the adoption process), and honestly I’m a bit nervous, as this was not in my ministry plans for my time here in Nica. But I’m so very excited at the same time. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  8. Ive been reading your blog for only a short time, but have been struck by many shared experiences and feelings. For many years I struggled with depression that was rooted in loneliness and a fear that as my friends’ lives moved forward in marriage and kids, that must mean I was being left behind. But thanks to a God-sent therapist and some deep conversations with those friends, I came to realize that my life is so very full of love. I may not have a boyfriend and may never marry, but my life will never be without love.

    I’m currently looking into becoming a foster parent, after working with children and families professionally for the last seven years. There are PLENTY of ways to get involved with these kids and they need it! Good luck pursuing love in a different way! I’m sure you will find it in unexpected places!

      • Ive been making small steps for the last 3-4 years to get to a place where I think I can actually care for a child as a single person. I kept kinds hoping I would HAVE to go it alone, but now that I’ve decided to go for it, I am so excited and at peace with my decision.

  9. This post finds me in a place where, alas, I understand EXACTLY what it means to be sick to death, nauseated, disgusted, pukey, indigestive, colicky with love. And yet still want it. And hate yourself for it. I HEAR YA girl.

    And yes, part of the solution is to love more, and love in places and ways where you will triumph because you are meeting love needs by giving love rather than trying to receive it.

  10. UGH I totally had a somewhat crisis with this yesterday.

    I turned 26.

    I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. 26 is not old. I know that I’m not old. I have a looooong and awesome life ahead of me. I get it.

    But it’s that age of 26-30/35 where I feel like the pressure is on. It already was when I was younger thanks to going to a conservative Christian university where everyone gets married at 21. But you still had the “Well I’m only…” excuse.

    Now I feel like I have to get my life together. Which is a good thing, but I feel like I have to figure ot RIGHT NOW what I want in life and start searching for THE MAN I will marry. Blah.

    In a lot of conservative Christian circles I’m already considered an old maid- which is crazy!!!!! I’m ONLY 26!!!!!! But at the same time, when I look at the people around me, I am one of the very few in my age range who is single, and it’s crazy. Thankfully I had some very understanding friends who are older than me listen to my woes last night and affirm that yes – that mindset is crazy. They were all “I’m 40 and I wish I hadn’t married so young. I made so many mistakes. Take your time.” So… that was good. 🙂

    But still. Blah.

  11. Kate, you don’t know me but your blog really speaks to my singleness. And this is so convicting and encouraging at the same time. Thank you for reminding me that love is not only about a ring and genetic links.

  12. I try to focus on the love in my family, on the profound relationships I have with my friends… To take the opportunity to be a loving aunty and sister. But you have also reminded me that I am missing God in all this sometimes… To focus on his love, on the relationship with him, to share my pain with him.

  13. I really love your blog and have shared it with one of my pastors and a lot of my single friends. It’s so hard being in your late 30s and still single, but I was challenged this year as well instead of waiting to be loved to give love away. It’s been fun to find ways to surprise and show my family, friends and high school girls (I lead a student life group at my church) that I love them. I am also learning to be more grateful for all the blessings I do have, especially for the many relationships I have been given that I wouldn’t have had if I was married. My own perspective has improved greatly since I’ve focused on being thankful and looking for ways to love others. I’m thankful to God for teaching me that lesson.

  14. Hi Kate. I love your songs and give your CD around to friends I love. Not sure how FB connected me with you, maybe I put there that I like your songs? I’m happily surprised wirh your blog. It’s candid. And you’re writing it out ‘loud’ the pain we all feel. I’m taking this class about early childhood and there’s this guy Erik Erikson who thought there are all these stages of human development and in each we have a challenge to go through and resolve it. The interesting thing about him is that unlike other theorists, he went beyond childhood and also talked about stages through adulthood: from late twenties to sometime from there we are facing the challenge of finding a partner and starting a family… When I read that I crie and was sad for a few days. Indeed, we’re facing such challenge, and what a challenge…
    But, over that sadness now, I look through each stage, like toddlers who have to resolve te tension between taking initiative and be themselves and the guilt of not pleasing the people around them, the tension of establishing identity during adolescence and I think, you know! We all did it! We went through all the stages so far and it was hard, each was very hard but we went through all of them, so, we’ll do this one too, people!!! If we look at middle age we see very few people that haven’t been married, some are divorced. But everybody, mostly, has a chance… Ours is coming too?! I think it is…

    • I’m glad you like my music! I don’t think a lot of people on here know my music so it’s good to hear some people are listening!

      This is a very interesting theory. Do you think there is a website I could go to to read more about it? It does lend to the question “what if the challenge we face is never met?” It’s not like we’re not trying to meet it! We are! But if it doesn’t happen, are we stuck in that stage for a long time? I know I feel like I’ve bee stuck in it a long time. Thanks this is a great post! I will look Erik Erikson up!

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