Imagine this: You are moving to the gorgeous country of New Zealand. Your heart has been set, for so long, on the tranquility of life there, the abundance of work opportunities in Queenstown, and living amid untamed but gentle nature. You’ve invested prayers, time, and resources, and now, you’re boarding your flight.
Many hours later, however, your plane lands unexpectedly in LaGuardia Airport, and you soon find yourself in Manhattan, New York. You learn that, through no fault of your own, you are to set down roots here instead, and build a life — grow friendships, work, play — here in this beautiful city. And beautiful it is.
But it is not New Zealand.
That’s what being single feels like.
You learn to love Manhattan. The strides on concrete, the frenetic traffic, and the unceasing rhythm of commerce become part of who you are. You even learn to love the sunsets you see over the stately elm trees at Central Park. But they are not the sunsets of Queenstown; and a part of you, that part made to love New Zealand, may always be unanswered, deprived of the one relief that can satisfy.
It is okay.
No human life is devoid of crosses that one must take up and live with; for some, it may be the death of a child or the abrasive personality of an employer; for others, it may be the demands of an illness or conflict with a family member. For us single women, it may be living with a longing that will never be fulfilled.
And yes, here, there is grief, because we are saying good-bye to everything we had once hoped for. There is loss. The loss is real. And the longing never really goes away.
“It’s painful,” my friend’s seven-year-old son said the other day, wincing as he showed me a gaping wound on his leg. He had hurt himself while playing, and although the wound was throbbing, the bleeding had stopped.
That is what grief is like. Eventually, the bleeding stops. Once in a while, though, the throbbing makes itself felt — sometimes, faintly; sometimes, so loudly that we hear it over the voices of work, family, and responsibilities. What do we do?
We allow ourselves to feel the longing and the loss. We take the time to cry, because the best smiles in the world are made of tears, and it is being comfortable with tears that builds bridges between us and people in ways that nothing else can. But we also remind ourselves that our wound is not lifethreatening. It just happens to hurt once in a while; and when it does, we choose to feel it. But we don’t let life stop.
After we have grieved, we lay our longings down at the foot of the Cross, where we give them to our Savior. There are some longings that we are not strong enough to carry on our own, so He does it for us.
The love of Jesus Christ surrounds both the grasslands of New Zealand and the skyscrapers of Manhattan. We may look at sunsets sometimes with a smile, sometimes with tears, and sometimes with both — it is okay. Our longing may be there, but so is He.
This is an excerpt from Letter to A Single Woman by Karen Huang.
Karen has been a book editor for many years. She has enjoyed working with authors and developing books in both educational and Christian publishing. She is also a writer whose work has appeared in devotional books, women’s magazines, Christian educational material, and inspirational books for women.
Karen studied at the Asian Theological Seminary and Ateneo de Manila University. She is “Ah-ee” to her nieces and nephew, Sabina, Selena, and Caleb, the loves of her life.
Let Karen Huang lead you to the Safe Place that she has found. Here, you'll find lasting joy and faith that can silence your fears. In this Safe Place, you are invited to be held and to belong.
Letters to a Single Woman will be balm to your heart. This book serves as a steady compass for mature single women because of the candid reflections and the wholesome wisdom with which Karen has written.
Single is a whole number. Easier than accepted, but nonetheless true. This book will remind you that your life carries on, most blessedly, in God!
This book is available at OMF Lit and Passages Bookshop and our online store, passagesbooks.com for P275.
This is also available as an ebook through the following ebookstores
iBooks (international only)