It must have been Mother’s Day, one of those days that’s just really hard for singles. And it was a rare time in my life, because I was scoffing at a hymn.
Sacrament meeting was concluding, and we were singing Hymn #300 “Families Can Be Together Forever.”
Many singles struggle with any reminder of how they don’t fit in. Kind of like that classic line from The Princess Bride — “And thank you for bringing up such a painful memory! While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice over it? We’re closed!”
Of course, the hymn is very appropriate for Mother’s Day. I mean, how do you address that day without talking about families?
But on this particular day, which was a few years back, I was scoffing at it. What was my hangup? It was the chorus:
Fam’lies can be together forever
What a load of tripe, I thought to myself. I’ve been single for years. All I’ve seen are women who want nothing to do with me. The Lord hasn’t shown me Jack!
Only with the clarity of hindsight do I see now what escaped me then. How I was too particular too soon in the dating process. How I put the cart before the horse by thinking the most innocent of acts like simple conversation or sitting together held some special eternal significance. I got worked up over nothing. Sounds like a really good Shakespeare play ....
And I see my hypocrisy as I yearned for a good woman to give me more of a chance while at the same time not giving much of a chance to the many eligible candidates who crossed my path. I wasn’t judging others by the standard I wanted them to use in judging me.
Making the change
Looking back now on that closing sacrament meeting moment, I’m struck by how much I’ve changed. Then I felt bitter and cynical. Now I feel confident and optimistic. What happened?
It wasn’t getting my girlfriend, because I felt optimistic before I met her. In fact, my positive outlook is a big part of what she finds attractive in me.
It wasn’t any outward circumstance. My employment and bank account have both been on roller coasters.
So what made the difference? Hitting rock bottom in my life. I think I had to go there before I came to believe — I mean really believe — that we all have every good reason to hope in a bright and glorious future. Hitting rock bottom brought me to surrender to God, and He then brought me to believe more fully in Him and His Son.
At that bottom point, I asked myself what I believe. Do I believe in the restored gospel or not? Because if I do, then it’s time for it to get real in my life. No more going through the motions. No more easy answers that placate me for the moment.
That’s when I started partnering with the Lord in a way I really hadn’t before. Before it was no more than “See, I’m thinking of going this way, but what do you think?” But after hitting rock bottom it became “I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this without Thee. I don’t know the way. Please help me.”
Following the resultant promptings increased my faith and confidence in God, which in turn transformed my partnering efforts even more. “I don’t deserve Thy many blessings, so I am grateful for Thy mercy. I’ve done as Thou hast shown me. Help me see the next step.”
That chorus line no longer feels like tripe to me. Do I know all the details of His plan? No. I don’t know the end from the beginning. But I trust in He Who does, I know the next step to take right in front of me, and I know He’ll help me take it.
I feel much better now when we sing “Families Can Be Together Forever.” So if you feel like I used to feel, examine your relationship with God. How dependent on Him do you really feel? If you find yourself lacking, start anew. Come into confidence, and let the light of His love show you the next step you need to take to unfold His plan for your life.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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