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