I was on the phone today with my sisters. I love them very much, even as our lives are in such different spaces. How did we grow up in the same house, with the same parents and turn out so differently?
Both of my sisters are married, one has 3 kids and the other has 4. I miss out on a lot of the bonding over children, husbands and life at home. My sisters share recipes and ideas. Most of mine seem to be impractical. I don’t know what it’s like to have kids and a husband who need me all of the time. I don’t know what it’s like to have to have dinner on the table every night for my family.
This didn’t seem to be a big issue for me, until this year.
I’ve watched as my sisters have become much more close and I’ve felt on the outside and most of that is warranted. It is natural to bond with someone who has more in common with you.
I think this is one of the reasons it’s hard to be seen as an adult when single. In the church I’ve been attending, the single people hang out and the married people hang out. There are seemingly different sections made up of marrieds and singles. Unintentional of course, but people tend to gravitate toward those who are most like themselves.
So much of life is spent in homogenous groups. We know what life should look like based on our experience and then we go around making judgements on what is good and bad based upon our experience. As a single adult, with out children, I often feel people think of my life as so free. I get to do what I want, when I want. I’ve felt at times from married friends or family that I don’t know real responsibility because I don’t have a spouse or kids. OUCH!
Try being a grown-up when you’re constantly told you aren’t one until you have kids to take care of.
I have friends of various races, socio-economic backgrounds, notoriety, career success, education and so on. Each of them has discussed with me how they have felt judged at various times for simply being who they are, having what they have, or having/not having success or education. I do believe we judge, but we also often are simply ignorant to how our language or exclusive talk might make someone else feel. I don’t know that we can avoid it, but I wonder what it would be like to be Jesus today: a middle eastern, single, childless, homeless, seemingly jobless (in his later years), traveler who challenged the status quo. I wonder who would think him wise? I wonder who would follow?
Are there many places where you know that you are valued simply for being? Are there many places in the church even, where we are mixed with people vastly different from us? Do we know how to mingle with folks that are a bit different with out making judgements? I just wonder.