One year in college, a couple decades ago, my girlfriends and I decided to wear black on Valentines’ Day. We were all boyfriendless at the time, and Spring had hit early so couples were coming out the dorms like moths from a wardrobe. We rebeled against coupledom in all it’s sacchrine glory. And what else is a rebel to do, but wear black?
Many years later at graduate school a professor of mine asked me to tell her my life story. I told her all the basics: where I grew up, what my undergraduate degree was in, when I got married. When she asked me how old I was when I got married, and the age “23″ came out of my mouth, this wise woman nodded her head and said, “Oh, so you’ve never been single.”
No, I have never been single. I went straight from a small Methodist college, where (almost) everyone was not so much single as just not-married-yet; on to graduation; and then straight to “Here Comes the Bride.” I never lived a day in the life as a single gal.
But she had been a single woman, my 50-something thesis advisor, and many of my girlfriends have as well–either as women who have not married, or who have married and are single again. And there’s also those girlfriends who have had long-term partners and common law unions, only to find themselves on the single side of the chart once again.
These women do not live lives of bereavement. They are not bereft. And whether they are single by choice or by circumstance, all of them have built lives that are as full and rich as any woman with a ring on her left hand and someone else’s clothes in her closet.
So every year, on Valentine’s Day, I remember that year in protest-black, I recall that a-ha moment with my professor, and it prompts me to post this blessing. I wrote it out of love for St. Lucy, for my single friends, and for the passionate heart of St. Valentine. If you are single, I hope it is a gift to you today. Thank you for living lives of admiration, and for putting up with all of us who go all gooey under the influence of paper hearts.
With Love and Respect,
I bless you in the midst of your singleness,
In the ebb and the flow of it,
In the hot and the cold of it.
May you enjoy the gift of independence.
May you travel far and make brave choices.
May you find love within yourself,
In the arms of God,
And in the hearts of others.
I bless you in the name of Saint Lucy,
Single and Whole,
Who refused to marry at the demands
Of convenience and culture,
Proclaiming instead satisfaction with her singleness,
And in doing so lit the way for others.
I bless you in the name of Saint Valentine,
Brave and Kind,
Who brought marriage to those who desired it,
Healing to those who needed it,
And hope to those who forged the uncommon path.
I bless you in the name of the Great Divine,
She whom we call Wisdom,
She who knows your soul.