Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Annal 14: Tale from a Distance

There’s an interesting fact that becomes apparent when you are single and most of your friends are not: everyone has decided that it is their job to make you “unsingle.”  If I had a dollar for every time I had a friend say, “I know a guy...” I would seriously never have to work another day in my life.  Of course, my friends only seem to “know guys” who live a fair distance away from where I am currently situated.
Situation One: I have actually met one of the men one friend suggests.  However, he lives several hours away in the neighbouring province and rarely comes to visit.  It’s all swell that he would love to settle down with a “nice, Christian girl” but alas, we have not met in over ten years.
Situation Two: Another friend tells me about an awesome guy she knows and how she thinks we could do well together.  Like situation one, situation two lives a far distance away and does not seem to be planning a trip in this direction any time soon.
Situation Three: The principal at my school actually grew up on a Mennonite colony.  She found out that some men from there were coming to town and had wanted to meet some “nice, Christian girls.”  My phone number was given out, but I was out of town when they came to visit.  My phone has never rung with a call from the colony.  So much for strapping men with a good work ethic.
Situation Four: My dad’s boss found out he has a single daughter close in age to her single son.  He does not live nearby and is not a Christian, so alas, another lost cause.
Situation Five: A woman I met once and talked to for about one hour thinks I’m a “nice, Christian girl” and would do very well with her son.  Apparently I give off good vibes through the course of a one hour visit.
While I greatly appreciate the thought and care my friends give to my relationship status, and the fact that I apparently do not need to look for a guy for myself as everyone else has it under control, just once it might be nice to meet one of these guys, as opposed to be told about their attributes and qualities and having to admire from a great distance.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Annal 13: Tale from the BBC

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  The sun shone, I was able to drink coffee and do my devotions on the front porch before church, and it was a service where I left feeling as if I had been recharged.  What made the day even better, was spending the afternoon watching North and South for the second time.  John Thornton (played by Richard Armitage) still made me breathless and caused my heart to palpitate.
I go through phases.  For the most part, I’m okay with being single.  God has me in this place right now for a reason, and I intend to do everything I can to fulfill His purpose for me at this point.  At other times, it gets really hard.  Sadly, my addiction to BBC dramas does not help with this much.
Do I expect Richard Armitage, dressed as Thornton, to walk through the door, look at me, and profess his undying love for me?  No, I am not COMPLETELY unrealistic.  But what gets to me is the way that he looks at Margaret in the final scene of the movie.  I know that movies are not what you base your idea of romance and love on, but in the final scene Thornton looks at Margaret as if she is the only person who exists.  He is completely unaware of anything or anyone else.
I sometimes have to ask, “God, will anyone ever look at me that way?”
I know His timing is perfect, I know He has a plan; I’m really good at giving myself the lecture I gave to all my other friends back when they were still single.
But still I wonder.
And so I am left with four options:
Option One—Abandon the BBC
·         If literature and its dramatic representations only serve to remind me of what I am missing, perhaps I should go cold turkey.
Option Two—Join the BBC
·         Don’t they need a token Canadian actor who attempts to feign a British accent?
Option Three—Move to England
·         I have a five year plan in mind
o   Finish of my degree
o   Work up north for a couple of years to pay off student loans and put some money into savings
o   Move to England where I am at least surrounded by men who SOUND like Thornton and my other BBC heroes (thanks to my sister-in-law for this suggestion)
Option Four—Wait
·         Continue praying for myself and others and simply follow Him where He leads.  After all, His timing is perfect despite being different from my own.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Annal 12: Tale from an Overactive Imagination

I was creeping through the bush, my eyes darting in every direction, checking to see if I was being followed.  I heard nothing, but that did not mean they would not appear soon.  I began talking to myself, as I always did in such circumstances, my British accent rolling off my tongue in a truly romantic manner.  I could see light ahead of me and I knew I would soon be leaving the cover of the bush.  Before I knew it I was in the open, a street in front of me, the occasional car passing by, a cold, NWT wind whipping against my parka. 

I was about eight or nine and this was my lunchtime and afterschool routine.  I would walk to and from school, through some bushes, pretending I was a British orphan on the run from a cruel orphanage.

Yeah, cool, I know.

This soon evolved into more "awesome" imaginings.

At other times I was a servant working in the kitchens of a grand castle in some unknown land.  I was always brilliant, adventurous, and incredibly mysterious.  This usually took place on evenings when I was doing dishes and they were particularly messy.

My aunt once had my cousin and me polish my mother's silver.  We decided to pretend we were members of Henry VIII's court, eating and drinking and attempting to belch.

I would love to say that with each passing  year I grow in maturity and am able to put childish things behind me.  But that would be a lie.

I still clean the bathroom, my bedroom, or the dishes with some great plot running through my mind.  Guaranteed, almost anytime I am seen staring off into space it is because I have some sort of story that is playing before my eyes.

I would love to say this tendency is a part of my charm, but I am afraid it really just points to a fact I have come to realize: I am a geek.

It will take one very special man to see my geekiness as charming and loveable, but perhaps that is why God is taking a little longer finding a man for me than he has for my friends.  And if that's what it takes, I'm okay with that.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Annal 11: Tale from the Date

It’s Friday night and I have a date.
I’m trying to still my pounding heart and calm my rapid breathing.
This is all pretty exciting to me and it doesn’t happen very often.
Truth be told, I had to initiate everything with regards to this.
I had to look at him, curly, dark hair falling into his chocolate brown eyes, and say, “What should we do for dinner this Friday?”
His response?
“’Donalds!” That would be McDonalds.
This morning I asked him if we should watch a movie tonight.  He became very excited and suggested we watch Tinkerbell.
My date is four.
He is like a nephew to me, and I am taking care of him for a couple of days while my parents are out of town.  He is a crazy four year old, but I love him to pieces and he is one of the cutest kids I know.  He and I also tend to go to McDonalds for dates on a relatively frequent basis.  If I’m lucky, other friends of mine who have kids the same age as this little guy will show up and then we can do “family dates.”
I sometimes laugh when I realize that my idea of a date is going out for fast food with a boy not yet in elementary school, but I also think I’m lucky.  I’m constantly surrounded by children, and as much as they say things that make me laugh, they are also sweethearts.  The other day I went to pick up my boy after I got off from work and while I was putting his coat on he just wrapped his arms around me and gave me a huge hug.  While I was doing my devotions this morning, he came up and asked if he could cuddle with me.  The same goes with my students.  Sure they like to remind me that I’m single, but they also say things like “Ms. S, you’re the best teacher in the whole wide world.”  Or they tell me how much they will miss me when I go back to school in the fall.
I may be single, but God has a way of letting me know that I am loved and that He hasn’t forgotten about me.  And usually it is at the hands of one of little guys!
Of course, as I am pondering this, my students are eating lunch at telling me that the reason I don’t remember my shepherd boyfriend is because of my short term memory problem.  Gems, aren’t they?
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Annal 10: Tale from the Weddings

I have a dream. 
My dream is that one day James Marsden will realize I am the woman for him and marry me.
Okay, that may not be it exactly, but it’s close.
I’ve been involved in a lot of weddings.  Seven to be exact.  I have been a flowergirl once, a bridesmaid three times, and a maid-of-honour three times.  So I’m kind of holding out for a Twenty-Seven Dresses theme where after another twenty weddings an attractive reporter will write an article about me and then whisk me off my feet and marry me.  Seven down, twenty to go.
Do I regret this?
Not at all!  I feel so honoured to have been a part of so many friends’ special day.  I’m floored that so many people have included me, and so I definitely see the value in these positions I have held.
Here’s the thing though: I’m still single.
Not only am I still single, but I also only ever get partnered with groomsmen who are either several years younger than me or else married.  So much for my prospects!
All humour aside though, sometimes wedding are rough for me.  While I’m ecstatic for my friends, I sometimes sit back and wonder: “God, what about me?  Have you forgotten me?  When will it be my turn?”
Something interesting happened though.  I have a friend (shocking, I know) who is also single (wow... even more shocking) and we have been not just praying about the men we will marry, but praying for each other’s future husbands.  The result: our friendship seems even stronger.
I was reading another blog, “Christianity in High Heels,” and the author encouraged single women to start praying for each other and for the men we will all one day marry.  I would like to pass this challenge on.  If you are single, pray not just for yourself, but for other single friends.  If you are married, pray for your single friends.  Pray for your married friends, that their marriages would not just be the stuff of legends, but would glorify God.  Pray.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Annal 9: Tale from the Bachelor Pad

As we obviously have no life, or at least as I have no life, my single friend and I decided to do a bit of a road trip last night.  Not that we don't enjoy living in a Christian manless society where we spend our evenings marking assignments or watching BBC dramas, but it sure was a pleasant change to go visiting.  The best part?  We were actually going to be in an environment where single, Christian males exist.  This was particularly exciting given my day at school yesterday.  I had a playground conversation with a grade five student that went something like this:

Student: "Ms. S, do you have any cats?"
Me: "No, I don't."
Student: "Oh good!  Now you need to get married or at least find a boyfriend."
Me: "Uh, why?"
Student: "Because if you don't you'll start collecting cats and become the crazy cat lady!"

Real gem, eh?

So my friend and I headed off and after an exciting trip to Costco (I bought trail mix and a collection of BBC dramas) we were to visit some of these friends.

I climbed upstairs to the apartment and can't help but let out a slight chuckle.  The living room was divided so that about two-thirds of it contained musical instruments and equipment, while the other one-third was made up of one couch and about fifteen folding chairs that were borrowed from the church.  There was no table, but boxes abounded.  All in all it was very cozy, but a definite bachelor pad.

So while our group was comprised of myself and my friend, one of her female friends, and two single guys (one who is about to enter into a relationship and one who is not looking for one), it was an incredibly enjoyable experience.  Sometimes you have to get away from what is normal and throw yourself into different circumstances.  I had never met any of these people before this past weekend, yet I found myself refreshed by the company.  It is possible for singles to visit in a setting that does not involve prospects of pairing off and where no one is judging you because you are single.  So here's to dinner at the bachelor pad of uninterested men!

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Annal 8: Tale from the Road Trip

Quite recently, as in the last twenty-four hours, another single friend and I decided to go on a little trip.  We travelled to the nearby shopping centre, spent the night (not at the shopping centre, mind you), and returned home just today.  Discussing the topic of utmost importance, why we are both still single, we comprised a list.  Below is our list.

18 Reasons we are still Single:
  1. The ringtone on my cellphone is the theme music from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  2. I can quote most of the lines from The Lord of the Rings and she can quote most of the lines from Pride and Prejudice.
  3. We spend more time looking at men from BBC dramas than we do real men.
  4. We sing opera while driving.
  5. We dance while driving.
  6. I may have pre-ordered the Cataclysm expansion for World of Warcraft (in my defense, while I set my alarm so I could start playing it right away at midnight, I decided to sleep through my alarm).
  7. We take pictures of ourselves with gigantic statues of beavers.
  8. Our ideal image of a man is him walking into a room with his hat strategically placed below one eye.
  9. My ideal first encounter with a man would involve him calling me a witch (Jane Eyre reference for anyone confused by this).
  10. We go for drives on rainy days so that we can pretend we are in the English countryside.
  11. We have to drive an hour and a half to find single, Christian men.
  12. We are no longer between the ripe ages of 20 and 22 when most Christian women are supposed to get married.
  13. Any female friends who know single men only want to hang out with us when they're looking for a "Girls' Night."
  14. Whenever I walk into bright light the first thing I say is: "It burns, Precious," in a raspy voice and she laughs at me and thinks it's hilarious.
  15. She can carry on conversations with herself in opera.
  16. We talk in our sleep (I'm the deep, philosophical one, though).
  17. We spend drives coming up with reasons for why we are single and we have as many as we do.
  18. I write a blog discussing the fact that I am single.
So whenever you start to feel down about yourself and where you are, read this list--it's bound to make you feel better.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Annal 7: Tale from the Swimming Pool

I walked through the entrance of the swimming pool and spotted my friend.  It was her son’s first birthday and it was a swimming party.  I stood with my friend and watched as the other guests arrived: mothers, fathers, and children.  This was no big deal.
Then we left to go through the change rooms and into the pool.  For the first time ever, I walked into the women’s change room on my own as all my friends headed into the family change room.  This had never happened to me before.
This was the point when I began to realize that I was a rare breed.
This fact was cemented when two months later I received my next birthday invitation.
Another friend’s daughter was turning one.  I showed up at the party, surveyed the guests, and smiled inwardly as I realized I was again the single friend among the families.
I have now definitely realized I am a singular breed.
I sometimes wonder: will I come to be the eccentric, single aunt to a host of children?  Will I forever walk alone through the women’s change room? 
My only demand is that these one year olds make their way to my birthday party.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Annal 6: Tale from the Church Pew

Last week I went to visit good friends in a relatively nearby community.  It was a wonderful visit and I spent the night, resulting in my attending church with them.  Their son is about a year and a half and my friend is eight months pregnant with their second child.  While standing during the music, I held the little boy and looked around at my surroundings.
  I was sitting in the back row of the church, one of those that are marked “For families with young children.”  I was in the early service, surrounded by other young families with little children.
It seems that no matter where I look I am surrounded by people my age who are married.  On the up side, some of these married people don’t mind associating with me.  On the other hand, I have lost many close relationships after some of my friends have gotten married.  I definitely understand that when you’re embarking on a new chapter of your life you want to surround yourself with people who on a similar journey.  This does make sense.  But I suppose it gets a little hard to suddenly have friends who only want to visit with me if their husband is not around. 
Do I have a jaded view?  Perhaps.  Or perhaps I’ve just been replaced for married women one too many times.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Annal 5: Tale from the Spelling Test

My students have a way of putting everything in perspective for me, especially when it comes to my lack of a significant other.  You have already heard some of their stories, but yesterday they reminded me yet again of why I am still single.
Yes, the shepherd boyfriend made his way into the day’s conversation.  I had to leave the classroom for a moment, and did not want to explain why to them (I do not usually discuss my need to use the washroom with my class).  This of course led them to assume that I had a secret rendezvous with said mythical man.  Obviously I am the sort of person who arranges such trysts during my Social Studies class.
One Friday night I gave one of my students a wee bit of a scare.  You see, my youngest sister hangs out with his older sisters on Friday nights, and one evening I had to go and pick her up.  However, it was a quiet Friday night where I was watching tv and wearing my slippers.  I didn’t feel like changing footwear so I ran out in my slippers.  I knocked on their door and my student answered.  He has never forgiven me scarring him with my hoodied and slippered apparel.  This came up during yesterday’s spelling tests.  The result?  I had another student look at me and state, “Ms. S, you really need a life.”
One of the spelling words on the test was “locomotive.” Naturally this would lead to my singing “Locomotion” (this is an obvious thought progression, is it not?).  After threatening to sign me up for the year end talent show one student simply shook their head and said, “Ms. S, you are some kind of freaky.”
So once again, my students put my life into perspective.  I am a freaky woman who wears slippers and needs to get a life.  Such is the life of a Christian single.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Annal 4: Tale from the Dress-Up Day

Every once in a while I have a complete moment of clarity and everything makes sense.  Like when you try to get up from your chair but you’re stuck.  You keep pulling and then all of a sudden you realize you sweater had hooked on something and that was why you were stuck.  Today is one of those moments.
I’m currently looking at myself and I’m wearing a cowboy hat, plaid shirt, studded belt, and a duster.  My hair is in braids and I’m greeting students as they walk in with a “Howdy.”  It’s Western Day at school and I’m all dressed up.  Now minus the hair, which is mine, everything else is borrowed.  And by borrowed, I mean I had to send out a Facebook message begging anyone with Western gear to please help me out.
You see, I love the theme days.  I think it’s cute the way my students will get dressed up and I love the creativity, but it goes far deeper than that.  I love dressing up.  There’s a scene in one episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where these four guys are incredibly excited to dress-up for a Halloween party.  That’s me.  If I had a costume of the Flash you would probably find me wearing it more often than I care to admit.  Actually, that is not true.  I would totally admit to wearing it.  You see, not that long ago our school had another theme day: Super Hero Day.  Yeah, guess you dressed up as Darth Vader?  That’s right, I wore black, I had a cape, and I most definitely had the mask.  The only thing missing was a voice distorter but even that didn’t stop me from breathing heavily and lowering my voice to raspy tone.
How does this all lead to my moment of clarity?  The lights have turned on, and angels have sung, and much like a vision all has become clear: I am a geek.
Some days it all makes sense why I am single.  I mean, I’m sure there are loads of people lining up out there wanting to date a flip-flop wearing cowgirl who doubles as a master of the dark side of the force, who can also tell you intricate details about the majority of the X-Men.  Yes, that was sarcasm.
I am a geek, but such is the life of a Christian single.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Annal 3: Tales from the Living Room Couch

My heart began to race and my breath caught in my throat.  I could feel the heat rising to my face, yet all I could do was stare into the most intense pair of blue-grey eyes I had ever seen.  Every glance sent my heart beating faster and faster. 
My married friend leaned over and patted my leg, whispering, “I know, I know.” 
The scene then flipped to a view of the female lead and I could feel myself begin to relax.  My breathing returned to normal, my face resumed its regular temperature, and my heart steadied.  I sighed.  I recall looking at my friend and saying, “They just don’t make them like that anymore.”
I have an addiction.  Some may call it a problem, but I am not ready to admit that.  I love BBC period movies.  I can sit for hours (and believe me, I do, as I proved by my four hour marathon last night), and watch the characters from Austen, Bronte, Dickens, and Gaskell come to life on the screen before me.  Perhaps more appropriately, I can sit for hours and watch the heroes of these novels come to life.  Who would have thought that Rochester calling Jane Eyre a witch could be so romantic?  Or Knightley’s nervous gestures as he proposed to Emma so enduring?  As last night proved to me, even intense stares from Thornton in North and South send me diving head-first into the sea of raging hormones I thought I had long ago passed.
The sad part is that I cannot remember the last time a real man (it takes a fair bit for me to admit that these heroes are fictional) stirred up a similar response in me.  It’s not that I expect John Thornton to walk into my church on a Sunday morning and whisk me off my feet.  I’m not even expecting men to fit the bill of a Rochester or Knightley.  I am aware of a line drawn between fiction and nonfiction.  But what does it mean that a Christian woman cannot seem to find a Christian man who can stir even the slightest of emotions up within her?  Will single, Christian women be forced to turn to BBC for the rest of their lives?
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Annal 2: Tales from the Classroom

My class discovered early on in the school year that I was single.  This is not the sort of thing I discuss with students, so I am not sure how they figured it out.  Perhaps it was because of the "Ms." before my last name, or perhaps I just give off a vibe that says, "Look at me, I'm single."  Regardless, they found out about my lack of a relationship status and they think it is wonderful to remind me of this.

Once a week I offer an afterschool math help.  One day the school secretary had to call up to my room repeatedly.  Somehow the mixture of cold weather, the coming Christmas holiday, the repeated interruption, multiplication, and the fact that the Christmas play was coming up soon resulted in the mythical creature my class has dubbed "Ms. S's shepherd boyfriend."  I do not understand how this came about, but come about it did, and my class has never been able to get over it.  For the last five months I cannot have my classroom phone ring without hearing a chorus of "Oooh, it's your shepherd boyfriend."  Sounds cute, but after some days where I hear this more times than I can count on one hand, it gets to be a little much.

My students are also somewhat obsessed with my wedding.  For a while some of their journal entries were about me getting married.  Then they would ask me if I would ever consider inviting them to my wedding.  I never bring this up to them, but for some reason  it seems to consume their minds.

Today's math class topped them all for me though.  After a call from the secretary and another remark about my shepherd boyfriend, one student, the same who will from time to time inform me that I will never get married, randomly asks me, "Ms. S, when you are all done with school, can you please not become a creepy cat lady?" 

I have an imaginary boyfriend, my entire class wants to come to my wedding, but if I do not hurry up I will become the cat lady from school legends.  Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Annal 1: Tales from the Staffroom

Annals of a Christian Single
For anyone who has ever been a member of that sect of Christians rarely spoken of... or to, for that matter, this blog is dedicated to you.  That’s right, I’m talking to those of you who belong to the group whose status seems to boggle the minds of most church-goers.  I am referring to the singles.  This does not mean the thirteen year olds who are not allowed to date, though I’m sure their lives are rough because of it, but am talking to those of you who find yourselves with a sort of stigma attached to you due to your relational status, or rather lack thereof of one.  I bring to you my tales from Singledom in hopes that you will find peace and hope in your similar stories.
Tales from the School Staffroom
I was sitting in the staff room at work the other day, enjoying fifteen minutes of solitude while my students were outside for recess, while filling out a crossword puzzle with another single teacher who shall remain nameless.  We were engrossed in said puzzle when the sound of a male voice addressing the secretary broke us out of our reverie.  Excitement began to bubble as the teacher whispered, “What does he look like?”
In a moment of pure stealth, I leaned to the left, attempting to make out the appearance of this mystery man by looking through the window that separates the staff room and school office.  The other teacher leaned as well, both of us hoping to see the man whose voice held us so enraptured.  Alas, our efforts were thwarted by the glare on the aforementioned window and before we knew it, the man was leaving, and with him all hopes of seeing him.
I looked at the other teacher and she at me, and before we knew it we were jumping from our seats, our crossword abandoned on the table, and were making our way to the window behind the photocopier, separating the blinds in hopes of catching a glimpse of said gentleman.  We moved the blinds, we stood on tiptoes, we craned our necks, yet to our chagrin he had vanished into thin air.  In a moment of pure desperation we spotted a garbage bag in the parking lot and found ourselves running outside to pick it up, thinking perhaps he on whom all our hopes seemed to rest would materialize.  But he was in all actuality truly gone.  We returned to the staffroom, dejected, and fell back into the waiting arms of our crossword.  Such is the life of a Christian single.