Being single in a Christian community is a lot like being left-handed in the world.
Finding another single person in a Christian circle is like encountering a left-hander at a dinner table. Finally, someone you can sit with who you don’t have to worry about encroaching on your elbow room.
Lefties learn at a very young age to keep their elbows to themselves. They spend most of their time trying to take up as little space at a dinner table as possible, because they will hear about it when an elbow gets out of line. Meanwhile, when an elbow comes THEIR way…well what can you expect? It’s a world built for righties.
Sure, sure. Lefties are just like everyone else. Of course they are! They’re not discriminated against. And you’re right, of course they’re not. Lefties, like singles, come from all walks of life, all races, all creeds, all backgrounds. But like single people, we all hear the same things.
- Oh you’re left-handed, that explains why you’re so clumsy.
- I thought left-handed people are supposed to be creative?
- Biblically, lefties are cursed, right?
Single people get their own litany of repetitive comments, and honestly, I think there’s a lingering suspicion that singles are cursed just as much as the south paws — maybe more.
I once worked at an ice cream parlor making swirl cones. It took me hours to learn how to do this job, which is an insanely easy task to learn, because I’m left-handed and my gut impulse was to do it the OPPOSITE of the “right” right way to do it.
I learned how to write differently from my peers, learned to hate spiral notebooks and three-ring binders, learned to use a mouse with my right hand. I learned how to knit “upside down” and I have a fascination with famous left handers (did you know Jimi Hendrix was left handed and played his guitar UPSIDE DOWN??), and am drawn to lefties as well.
Left-handed people are regular people, but there’s a kindred spirit that gets recognized when you hear, “you’re left-handed TOO?” Lefties are excited to meet other lefties, a phenomenon that right-handers can never share, because your similar experiences don’t bind you the same way lefties all bond over the same awkward experiences.
No, being left-handed isn’t a hardship. It’s not a burden to bear. (Though our mortality statistics are terrifying) It’s just how I was made and eventually my Mom stopped trying to put the spoon in my right hand. I like being a lefty, I like being different and special and I like being noteworthy (to some degree), but I live in a right-handed world, and I did have to adapt.
I’m a single woman in a Christian world, and I had to adapt. It’s not a hardship. It’s something quite special, giving me a chance to reflect God in a unique and different way, but it is a challenge sometimes because I am the outlier, I am the non-normative. I’m the one who makes an even dinner party, odd (in probably a lot of ways).
We’re all left-handed in a right-handed world, in some way. Each of us has an eclectic that we bring to our environments. And sometimes it’s going to suck to be the weirdo of the group. Some are more sensitive to that “sore thumb” quality, too. It’s no good to stick out when you want to blend in, but there is grace in celebrating these qualities, grace in finding all the unique ways that God made humans — because each of those ways is a reflection of our Good and Creative God.
So go ahead and be different, and thank God for making you so. And go hug a lefty today. Let ’em know you care about them too. Or just give them some elbow room at the table.
Let’s give each other a little space to stand out, in love, in a world not perfectly made for any of us.