Choices, Christian, Contentment, Encouragement, Faith, God, Loss, Love, Perseverance, Relationships, Singles, Thankfulness, Trust

When Will It Be My Turn?

The first one came from JC Penney on January 22. “True Love?” the email ad probed, followed by pictures of gleaming heart-shaped jewelry on sale (with an “extra” 20% off).

While I had seen Valentine’s Day cards at Walmart for a while, I knew this ad signified the beginning of an all-out marketing assault by retailers trying to sell their romantic wares by February 14.  Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday—if you are an elementary school kid exchanging cutsie cards and candy — or, if you are an adult with a special someone in your life.

But for unattached singles, the flurry of ads, displays, and flower deliveries to co-workers can be a difficult time. That’s why I’m dedicating this blog post to singles — especially those who have never married. I want you to know that you’re not alone in struggling through this holiday, nor are you the only one who has asked, “When will it be my turn?”

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thKQ27RL12It was Valentine’s Day, and the thick, gray Pacific Northwest clouds matched my mood. I had searched through my mail for several days, hoping for the sign of a pink or red envelope. My hopes were raised at the sight of a crimson corner peeking out from the junk mail—but it turned out to be a card from mom and dad. It was sweet and thoughtful of them to send a card, but it wasn’t the kind of Valentine I was hoping for.

It looked like one more Valentine’s Day would come and go without a romantic card or a red rose on my desk.   “At least this year there was a chance,” I sighed.   My thoughts went to Daniel,* half-way across the country. We had met that summer working in a children’s camp and had expressed a mutual interest. I could still see his smile and feel his strong arms picking me up in a playful moment amidst ninety campers.

But now, summer was over and the coolness of winter seemed to be chilling our relationship, too. I had hoped Valentine’s Day might bring an indication otherwise. The card from mom and dad stared at me from the dining room table. “To a wonderful daughter on Valentine’s Day.” It just didn’t seem like enough this time. I grabbed my coat and stormed out of the house, hoping a walk would do me good.

“It’s just not fair,” I brooded. “When will it be my turn to get a real valentine? When will it be my turn to fall in love and be the one sending out wedding invitations? I have waited and waited and it never happens to me.”   A chilly gust swirled the dead leaves across my path as I continued my tirade, listing all of the things I had been denied by not having a man in my life.

The path led me to a spot that reminded me intensely of Daniel. It was a little prayer chapel where we had said goodbye at the end of the summer. I remembered the tears he had gently wiped away from my face after we had prayed together. Now the wind’s icy finger traced fresh tears across my cheek. The memories of his touch only made my feelings of deprivation greater. “Oh, when will it be my turn?” my heart pleaded again.

At the depth of my pity-party, I was struck with a dramatic impression. I realized that I was not the only one asking that question. In my mind I began to hear other voices crying, “When will it be my turn?” But they weren’t longing for a Valentine. In anguish they were asking, “When will it be my turn to feed my hungry family? When will it be my turn to have a home? To be employed? To have friends? To learn to read? To be free from war? To be healthy?”

As my heart listened to their desperate cries, the bitterness I had felt a moment before began to transform to thankfulness. I realized it had been my turn to receive what many others had not. My discontent began to shrivel as I started voicing gratitude for blessing after blessing in my life.  Though not a poet, my thankfulness spilled out into verse form as I viewed my situation from a new perspective:

 

When Will It Be My Turn?

 When will it be my turn

to receive that Valentine so rare —

the one that comes from only him:

my prince, my love so fair?

When will it be my turn

to smell those flowers sweet,

to adorn my room with roses

from the man I wait to meet?

When will it be my turn

to walk hand-in-hand as one,

to spend deep times together

and share laughter, joy and fun?

When will it be my turn

to not be the number odd,

the one whose mate is absent,

about whom others whisper and nod?

When will it be my turn

to join the ranks of friends

who years ago in weddings past

their single lives did end?

When will it be my turn

to wear that dress of white,

to be surrounded by music, flowers

and the aura of soft candlelight?

But you, O Lord, reminded me

that others question, too.

And their cries of anguish

made me view my plight anew.

For they asked, “Lord, when will it be my turn

to have all the food I need?

When will it be my turn

to have a job . . . to make friends . . . to read?”

“When will it be my turn

to be free of war, sickness and strife?

When will it be my turn

to have a chance in this dim life?”

Lord, it has been my turn

to enjoy what these who cry have not.

For I have been blessed with many gifts,

including those that can’t be bought.

And most of all, it has been my turn

to know you, the God of love,

to grow in trust and patience

with my eyes on you above.

For you know me, in turn,

most intimately of all,

and you tenderly take my hand

and embrace me when I fall.

You patiently listen to my repeated cries

of “When will it be my turn?”

And you gently answer, “My lovely bride,

I am your beloved always . . .when will you learn?”

 (Poem written at age 27)

*a pseudonym

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I hope you’ll return for my next post, “Happily Ever Single” scheduled to be released on Valentine’s Day!   To be sure to never miss a post, I encourage you to look for the “Follow” button just below the “Categories” section on the right side of this page.  By clicking on “Follow,” you’ll receive an email notification whenever a new post arrives on singledevotion!  Blessings to you.

8 thoughts on “When Will It Be My Turn?”

  1.  So right on, Jane, and beautifully written. I know God will use this to re-focus and encourage many. I’ll send you an email later. Kathy

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  2. Absolutely beautiful…. We have the greatest love of all..the love of Christ Jesus. Thank you for sharing your poem Jane… It touched my heart ❤

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  3. Janer, I do love this one. Very tender and a good reminder to look outside of ourselves at any stage of life.

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  4. Thank you for commenting — I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. Having a wider perspective is helpful in all areas of our lives! Blessings on you!

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  5. Please don’t refer to heartfelt sadness as a “pity party.” To leave this earth without marriage and family is a tragedy for too many people.

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  6. Thank you for your comment. Please know that my intent was not to minimize the pain that comes with an unfulfilled longing. Rather, my desire in writing this post was to celebrate how God reframed my perspective to focus on what He has given me (rather than on what has not yet been granted). While acknowledging that there are difficult aspects of being single, I do not feel that living unmarried is a tragedy. I firmly believe that if our lives are devoted to following God’s will and glorifying him, both marriage and singleness can be a honorable, joyful, and purpose-filled life.

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