I had never lived alone in my entire life before my husband died. Therefore, it surprised me to discover how easily my life slid into self-centeredness once I had no one else to consider.
My to-do list reflected this shift: Do my hair, do my nails, do my laundry, clean my house, do my shopping. What do I want to do today? What do I want to eat? Where do I want to go? Me, me, me, I, I, I. I couldn’t help the fact that I lived alone, but I realized after so many years of caring for others, I had fallen into a selfish pattern—and didn’t exactly hate it.
When friends suggested I get a pet for company, I balked at the idea because it would interfere with my ability to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted after work. [Okay, maybe I’m not really an animal-lover, but that’s beside the point.]
When a co-worker complained about her hormonal mood swings, I responded [more obliviously than self-righteously], “Even though I’ve reached the menopausal stage, nothing seems to bother me.”
She shot back, “How would you know? You live alone!”
I had to laugh; she was right. I didn’t have to deal with anyone getting on my nerves, anyone demanding my time, anyone expecting anything from me that I didn’t have the energy to give. So how would I know if I was hormonal? I won every argument (with myself) and I was always right. And it worked for me . . . for a while.
But God showed me I needed to look beyond my little world and see if I could help meet the needs of others.
I began to list ways we single people could help those busier married-with-children people or even other lonely singles. Here are a few I came up with:
- Offer to baby-sit for a few hours. [Not my strength, but is it yours?]
- Take a harried mother out for lunch without children in tow. [Yeah, I could do that.]
- Prepare a meal and drop it off.
- Offer to drive someone without a car to run their errands.
- Pop in and tell a stay-at-home mom to take a walk or a run while you hold down the fort.
- Take charge of a relative or friend’s household for an extended period of time so they can go on a missions trip or enjoy a romantic get-a-way.
- Stop by with the sole purpose of folding a family’s laundry. [Guess which chore I dreaded?]
We may be lonely, but they are more apt to be burned out. Think about it. Pray about it. If you listen, the Lord tell you how you can serve him and others best.
Want to know what God told me to do? Cook supper once a week for young adults—all single. I had an average of twelve show up every Tuesday for over a year. And since I had waited on God’s direction, I enjoyed every minute of it!
Years later (and remarried), I’m starting a Party of One Supper Club for those who prefer not to dine out alone. And what a blessing it is!