A friend asked me recently if I had any thoughts to contribute about what it means for a single person to be fruitful and multiply. It was nicely timed because I’d just written a post on adoption as sons based on the idea that singleness brings with it a barrenness no one wants to acknowledge, so all of that Genesis stuff was fresh on my mind.
But then I went to a wedding. And watched a movie about adoption. And RSVPed to a few more weddings. And listened to some friends talk about their new relationships. And held a newborn baby. And suddenly anything I thought I had to say or think about singleness or fruitfulness went the way of hoop skirts and handlebar mustaches, that is to say, extinct.
I have this other friend. We don’t get to see each other often, she lives on the other side of the 70 mile metroplex we call home. But usually all it takes is a glance at one another at church or a text or a simple thought and we’re on the same page. She’s a talented, beautiful girl, with a talented, godly husband. They live in a beautiful home they’ve made into a haven. People might envy their idyllic lives, and in some ways, I wouldn’t blame those people, this couple has what many people only dream of.
But they don’t have a baby.
And that’s what they dream of.
She and I, we’re the sort of friends who enter into one another’s pain, and though it is not the same, it is the same: we both want what we do not have and there is no guarantee for either of us that we will ever get it.
The longer I am single, the more women come into my life who struggle with infertility, a staggering number of painfully quiet pray-ers.
So I began to listen. I began to listen to their stories, to their mourning, to their agony, to the ways in which they felt inferior or on the exterior or incapable. I began to listen to their tears and their fears. And here is what I am learning:
We are all barren souls, empty wombs, and carved out holes. We, all of us, long for something not yet here and it might be as beautiful as marriage or a baby or it might be a simplistic as a big screen tv or better career. We want. We ache. We ache. Deeply in us for something to satisfy the gnawing inside of us.
Another friend of mine left our church recently, choosing another church to call home for a season. Why? I asked him. To find a wife, he said. I stared at him—if you’re a good man and you can’t find a wife at my church, you’re not looking to your left or right. But then I realized something: there’s a gnawing in him. An ache. A barrenness. A desperateness.
“It is not good for man to be alone.
I will make a helper fit for him.”
I sit in need these days. I wonder how I could ever be a helper fit for anyone and then I remember Christ’s words in John: I’m sending my Spirit to you! He will help you, guide you into all truth.
He has made a helper fit for us, all of us.
So friends, I just want you to know that I understand and you understand and more than anything He understands and we, all of us, are called to help. I help my babyless friends by reminding them of God’s faithfulness. They help me by reminding me that marriage and a home doesn’t equal completion. Women, we help our brothers by being approachable, willing to take risks. Men, you help us by not overlooking what could be the best spouse fit for you.
But more than anything the Holy Spirit helps us all by guiding, teaching, comforting, and filling us full, to overflowing.
You may feel alone, but you are not alone.