Written By Wu Yan Ping, Singapore
What is the purpose of a line? It is used to separate things into two categories. From where I’m standing, the people on the other side of the line are either attached or married. And here I am, on my side of the line, waiting to cross it.
Yes, I’m single. Some people say that once you pass a certain age, it is difficult to get attached. Unfortunately, I’m past that age. Most of the guys in my age group are already attached or married. There’s no one eligible in sight for me.
I have never been in a relationship before and I pray every day for the Lord to bring me across the line into a relationship and eventually, marriage. That almost happened when my church was in the midst of merging with another church and I got to meet other singles in my age group. In a bid to bond the members, the churches organized a combined service late last year.
That was when I met *Xavier, who attends the other church. We hit it off very well and shared similar interests in philosophy and history. We attended the young adults cell group together. Xavier and I also met up outside church to go out for dinner. He gave me gifts even when it wasn’t a special occasion and often went out of his way to help me.
Throughout the five-month long friendship, I started to develop feelings for him. He started to become more than a friend to me. Here was my chance to get attached and married, I thought to myself. He wasn’t a bad catch at all—he was very encouraging, and always sent me text messages to cheer me up. He was also intellectual, and yet a bit of joker. I felt very comfortable around him.
His behavior towards me suggested more than just a platonic friendship. I wanted to follow my heart and tell him how I felt about him. However, I held back when Xavier started talking to me about his ex-girlfriend who had chosen to marry someone else. I remember his wistful expression as he showed me a picture of his ex-girlfriend riding an elephant with him, and him telling me how his friend had betrayed him and stole her from him.
It became obvious to me that Xavier still hadn’t gotten over his ex-girlfriend and was still bitter about it. And yet, he also said that he was interested in another lady and had gone on dates with her. When he said that, I tried my best to keep my composure. Deep inside, however, my heart was broken.
In the end, our churches did not merge and I was back in my own church. I felt the odds were against me. I was the only single in her thirties and the chances of meeting other single men were slim. I felt so lonely and uncertain of my future.
Desperate for a relationship, I even thought of switching to another church with a higher proportion of people in my age group. I tried dating applications but because I couldn’t see the other party’s facial expression, I found it tough to connect with them or to ascertain their sincerity in a relationship. I even had irrational thoughts of confessing to Xavier just so that I could be attached again.
Throughout my journey of getting over him, I cried out to the Lord multiple times, asking Him to take away the feelings I had for Xavier. I wanted to move on to find someone else.
However, God didn’t give me a new partner or remove my feelings. Instead, He gave me distractions from my pain. I discovered that I had a good ear for music, and have since become a vocalist in church. I’ve also been involved in doing up the worship slides. Having some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia, I am also learning how to sing worship songs in Bahasa Indonesia and Bada—an Indonesian dialect—for an upcoming event that I volunteered to be part of.
At my workplace–where I work as a School Programmes Executive—I have been tending to students’ injuries, and have put my first-aid skills to good use.
The Lord has shown me that I still can experience pockets of joy without a romantic partner. For example, I still enjoy going out with my family and had fun at the recent National Day Parade preview with a friend.
At this point of time, I still don’t know what good will come out of this situation. However, one thing is for certain: God has given me a new desire to use what He has given me to advance His kingdom.
Sure, it would be easy for me to be bitter or to wallow in self-pity over my situation. For the longest time, my natural response had been to stop thinking about the Lord and His Word. I would blame God for the situation and for my pain, and stay away from church.
However, I’ve made a conscious choice to praise the Lord. Although I still pine for a relationship and to be delivered across the line into marriage, the Lord has put joyful songs in my heart, as if to remind me to praise Him. I have found myself singing worship songs at 5.30 a.m. and I’m very encouraged by the lyrics. These songs uplift my spirit, leading me to worship the Lord.
*not his real name