Sometimes when I awaken during the night, a few words clearly break into my sleepy consciousness. A few nights ago it happened again. The words glided gently into my ears while the early morning hours waited patiently to greet the dawn. The line whispered, “One and only one, and yet not alone.” In my half drowsy state, I mused upon the truth of that statement. Singleness does not necessarily equal aloneness.
Just recently I read a friend’s article on single hood. According to her research, she indicated that the ratio of Anabaptist single women to Anabaptist single men was grossly imbalanced. She found the amount of single women far outweigh the amount of single men. Such statistics could yield a rather bleak future for these women. In the same article, she wrote, “One ‘positive’ factor for the single Mennonite woman is that she has a lot of single female company as her friends.” I assume she meant that one can find plenty of social life with her peers due to the availability of single women. I do agree that I do not lack in the abundance of women friendships, but they include both single and married ladies.
As I pondered my friend’s article, I thought of a recent social event. Within just a few hours notice, five of my single friends and I planned a pizza dinner in town. (That is one benefit of being single. We often can more quickly adjust our personal schedule than a household with a number of people.) The dinner time was low-keyed. Maybe we were tired. Maybe after working all day, we just needed to time to unwind. Our quiet celebration of friendship, womanhood, and life offered a cozy togetherness that touched a comforting spot. Nothing changed in my single status that evening. I came home as one and only one, yet I knew I was not alone in this world.
The realization of this truth is not limited only to social events. A few weeks ago the winter flu of fever and cough attacked me. I was on my couch the greater part of the week. My family and friends checked in with me daily via texting or phone calls. My neighbor, Cathy, sent her daughter over with chicken noodle soup and homemade bread. Another evening my young high school friend, Sierra, brought in a meal for me. My friend, Anna, picked up some necessities in town when I was too sick to go out. My friend Irene picked up supplements and stopped in to visit me. I was one and only one in the house that week, yet I did not feel alone, for I was surrounded by caring friends.
Sometimes as single women, it is easy to focus on our single status and what we don’t have. True, as singles, we are one and only one. Yet I have never been more convinced of this wonderful truth, “We are not alone.” I think of Jesus’ disciples who must have felt a high level of anxiety when Jesus told them He was leaving them. He promised them that the Father would give them another Comforter that would abide with them forever. (John 14:16) We, as single women, are promised the very same Comforter. He walks daily with us in every breath we take, in every job we do, and in every thought we think. No friend can be as constant as is Immanuel – God with us. That is why we are never alone, even though we are one and only one!