Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Truth and Joy

The Truth will set us free, we are told, and Christians take this metaphorically to mean that Christ, who is Truth, has set us free. But we can move (somewhat) beyond metaphor because Aquinas writes "The truth is what is." Now that which is is being, and all being derives from God, whose existence is His essence, and therefore is Being.

Where am I going with this? Well, I am trying to make an argument that truth is extremely important, much more important than we generally think (and you should read St. Augustine on the subject), and that no matter how many fibs, evasions or lies you offer other people (not that I'm suggesting it), you must never lie to yourself.

Being a Seraphic Single does not include telling yourself lies about yourself and your Singlehood. If you love being Single, and just want to stay Single, either as a nun or monk, a consecrated virgin or priest, or a woman or man living free of any vow but her or his baptismal and confirmation vows, then that is great. That is marvellous. Don't pretend to yourself that you really want to be married. You don't have to. It's okay.

Louisa May Alcott explained her 19th century singleness by saying (apparently, I heard this from a tour guide at her house in Concord, MA) that she'd rather just paddle her own canoe. And, my goodness, what a lot of freedom there is in permanent Singledom. You can be one of the guys forever and ever. If you're not a nun, you make your own money knowing that's all the money you'll have to work with. You organize your own retirement plans. You save up and buy your own house. You never have to ask anyone's permission for any of your choices ever. You never have to figure out or pander to the male (or, if male, female)psyche. Ahhhh....

However, if you hate being Single or like being Single for now, but hope to get married eventually, the one person who absolutely has to know and acknowledge this is you. When you take ownership of this wish it has less power over you and how you act in public. For example, I remember a desperately lonely young man at a wedding getting absolutely smashed at the open bar while bragging, "I'm sure glad it's not me putting my head into a noose!" He didn't fool anyone, and I'm happy to say he's married now. People who simply long to marry but sneer at marriage are extremely annoying.

Of course, you don't have to--and should not--tell the universe. When you are Single and you want to get married, you have to be as peaceable as the dove and as cunning as the serpent. In short, you have to take into consideration the male psyche, if you are a woman, and the female psyche, if you are a man. Women do not naturally think like men, and men do not naturally think like women. I think we should just all accept this right now. This has absolutely nothing to do with Reason. We all participate in Reason. It's just that we function differently, and women who want to get along with men simply have to accept that men are not very logical and plan for it.

The prime example of this is the guy who pursues you and then, when you are hooked, drops you like a hot potato. This stems from the average man's love of a challenge and his illogical yet undeniable disappointment when something turns out to be easier than he thought it would be. It is for this reason that both the infamous Rules and Auntie Seraphic tell you that you are never allowed to talk to the man you are romantically interested in every single day. If you honestly think of him ONLY as a pal (and be honest here), then text him every hour; I don't care. But if you can barely keep yourself from seizing him in your womanly arms, then for heaven's sake don't communicate with him every day. At least don't see him every day. The Rules says you should see him only twice a week.

I just stared at my husband, pondering his psyche. Since we had quite a whirlwind romance, I suspect that the necessary challenge was the whole distance thing, not to mention the difficulties he suspected the U.K. Border Agency might throw in his way. Then there's the whole brass involved in asking a Canadian to live in an old Scottish house with no central heating and limited hot water. (Don't ask.) And it is just possible that the bonds of marriages are cemented by all the challenges, once you are engaged, of getting married: your parents, his parents, the Church, the State, the banquet hall, the florist, the hairdresser, the dress...

Another thing you must do is be open to invitations to meet men (or women), and therefore school your own psyche to be intrigued, not insulted, when people offer to introduce you to them. Yes, it is embarrassing and more than often disappointing. Yes, it would be a million times better if people would ask you first. And it would be a billion times better if married friends invited a sloo of Singles to their parties, instead of just two: you and The Other One. However, married people usually have incredible amnesia about what is most comfortable for Single people, and if you get married, you probably will, too. Bless our little married hearts.

This brings me to the subject of joy. I hope you have some because this is the part of you, if you are Single but wish to marry one day, that you must show to the world as often as you possible can. Healthy people are attracted to happy people. So be happy. When someone asks you how you are, you are not just fine, you are great. When you blog, you blog about what you love and what is great about your life, not about what you hate and what is lousy about your life. Own your sorrows, but share them with only a tolerant few. Own your joys, and trumpet them about.

Be joyful, be confident, and, if you are a woman, ask Single men to help you with stuff so that they know that you are not 100% self-sufficient and that--if they are supremely fortunate and/or hard-working--they might be allowed to add to your joy.


MaryBeth said...

I'm happy to be single until a NCB is kind to me and gives me a nice smile. Then all of a sudden I want to be his wife and mother of his eight + children...of course NCB has no idea of all of this...

New Year's Resolution - no crushes for 2011 - that way I'll stay happy being single.

Thanks Seraphic!

Seraphic said...

Easier said than done, my dear! Why not, instead of saying you won't have any crushes, that you will not take them very seriously? When a crush comes, observe it, laugh at it, and don't let it run your life. If it does, pray to be freed from it.

MaryBeth said...

Pray to be freed from it - sounds wise and the exact opposite from what I have done in the past. I'm a tad embarrassed to admit that I have prayed entire novenas that NCB would profess his love for me.

2011 is going to be a good year.

theobromophile said...

However, married people usually have incredible amnesia about what is most comfortable for Single people, and if you get married, you probably will, too. Bless our little married hearts.

That depends on their pre-married state. The ones who develop amnesia were the ones who were always dating someone nice (or with drama that revolved around dozens of men adoring her) and, relative to other Singles, never struggled much in dating or in finding Someone.

The ones who never get amnesia are the ones who married later in life or went through hell and back in their dating lives. Any Married perceptions of the single life are much more a reflection of their own pre-marital experiences than anything else.