Sunday was my ward’s annual Primary program. This year the theme was family. It was really hard for me to watch.
Don’t get me wrong. The children presented very well. It’s just salt in the wound to have a constant reminder of what I don’t have.
They did nod to sensitivity. The program started with “Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some are a family of one, and some are a family of many. . . .”
I just wanted to vomit.
That ridiculous notion never agreed with me. I know people want to be sensitive, but I’m not a family. I’m an individual. And I’m okay with that.
But it didn’t end there. Sunday School and priesthood meeting were little better, with comments about singleness equals sin and how singles don’t need people ministering to them but rather a different mind set.
And that’s when it hit me.
I had this epiphany. I saw new connections between ideas I’ve had now for quite some time. And enlightenment followed.
I’ve blogged before about how your focus becomes your reality. Whatever you think about manifests itself in the real world. But what do you do when elements outside your control constantly present you with what you don’t want to think about? How do you stop that from becoming your reality?
That’s why I had a hard time with church. And quite frankly, it’s why many singles have serious issues feeling like they belong in church. When what you want but don’t have is continually thrown in your face every week, it’s hard not to focus on it. And when you focus on that lack, you can’t avoid having a reality filled with lack. It’s natural law.
So what do we do?
What the answer is not
Let’s start with what the answer is not.
The answer isn’t leaving the Church. The gospel of Jesus Christ restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith is true. Leave the Church, and you leave the safety of priesthood authority and sacred covenants.
Neither is the answer avoiding church meetings, especially sacrament meeting. The renewal of our covenants that attends partaking of the sacrament provides vital nourishment for spiritual well-being. Nothing really replaces that.
Likewise, the answer isn’t ceasing or watering down our support of the family. It’s more than just the building block of society (as important as that is). The family is the basic unit of eternity. So we need to support the family — and strongly.
Moving towards an answer
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, I do believe we need to be more involved in each other’s lives. That goes both ways. Singles need to be more involved in the lives of marrieds, and marrieds need to be more involved in the lives of singles.
I’ve blogged before about our need as singles to take the first step. The Church doesn’t need to change, but the subculture does — not away from the family but towards more inclusiveness of those who don’t have families of their own. Our culture should encourage everyone to help everyone along the journey into eternity. That change won’t happen until we singles personify it.
Some will find that hard to do. After all, how do you fill up someone’s gas tank when you yourself are running on empty? Many of us singles are running on empty.
This is precisely where our married friends can help. While everyone is different, many singles clearly struggle to progress further on their own. A kind, compassionate friend who has passed that point in his or her own progression can be a great help.
We’re all on an eternal journey together. Though at different points in the journey, we can each reach out to help those not as far along the path as we are. The particulars of that help will of course vary for each person. But walking with others along the journey is a key part of the journey itself.
Instead of having people not involved in our lives constantly presenting us singles with what we lack, our focus as singles can more easily turn more positive when our married friends display more sensitivity as a result of being more involved in our lives. Then marriage and family become more than just a rite of passage marking acceptance within the subculture. Eternal marriage and family become the ideal state we help everyone to achieve.
The Savior’s invitation to Enoch instructs us all. “Behold my Spirit is upon you . . . and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me” (Moses 6:34). Walking with the Lord means walking with others, helping them along the true way (Matthew 25:31-46; Mosiah 2:17). Let us all, then, walk with the Lord. Let us walk together towards our eternal home.
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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