Sunday, February 17, 2013

(Used to be) Dateless on Valentine's Day

I had been dateless on Valentine’s Day for years. There were years when I didn’t receive any flowers or roses… no love letters nor gifts. No fancy dinner dates with someone special to look forward to or fuss about. No one to hold hands with or exchange sweet messages with. There were years when I dreaded the month of February and the sight of all things that reminds me that Valentine’s Day was nearing. I hated the feeling of wanting to be like the rest.

That was me in Singapore resting by the lake after walking around.
But there were also many years when I didn’t mind not receiving anything at all or not having a special someone to celebrate it with. Those were the years when I was happily single, enjoying the company of friends, busy pursuing my passions and interests, busy achieving my personal goals. Those were years when I was so full of hope and faith that in time, I will celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone very special to me and who will make me feel special as well.

What helped me “survive” those years of being dateless on Valentine’s Day were these: first, I was surrounded by loving, single friends; second, I was part of a community of single men and women; third, I knew that I was called to the married life; and last but not least, I had a strong personal relationship with my God.

I was blessed that for most of my single life, I was surrounded by other single men and women who made me feel wanted, special and loved. Most of these friends of mine were part of the youth and singles community I was a part of when I was still in college and when I was already a working professional. We would arrange group dates with our female friends who were single and unattached as well. We would have Valentine activities in our youth or singles community, where singles who are not in any relationship would not feel out of place on Valentine’s Day, would have a chance to meet new friends, or simply have a good time to bond with old friends. Those were fun days! I enjoyed much of my single life because of the beautiful friendships I had during those years.

Another thing that helped me much during those dateless years is the certainty in my heart that I had been called to the married vocation. I just didn’t know when I’m getting married and with whom. I gained this certainty after I went through a state of life discernment process during my early single years. It’s a process I learned from the youth and singles community I was a part of and which I went through initially with the guidance of a Carmelite spiritual directress.

I have to admit though that even with all those helpful things/people in my life, there were times when I would still feel lonely. There were times when I would dream and long for a Valentine date with someone I love deeply. It was during those times that my strong relationship with my God helped me the most. When I felt my self esteem going down, I turned to God and allowed myself to be reminded of my dignity as His precious and beloved daughter. When I felt a strong need for companionship and even friends were not around to keep me company, I drew close to Him soaking myself in prayer so I would not forget that I’m never alone because He’s always beside me. When I felt that my love tank is empty or almost empty, I allowed God to fill me up with His unconditional and steadfast love.

Then, at one Valentine party organized for the singles in our community seven years ago, I met someone who was to be my Valentine for years to come. I went to that party with no expectation that I would meet someone new who can be my potential Valentine date in the future. I went there mainly because I was launching my book, When My Bridegroom Comes. It was a book I wrote about the challenges and joys of a single lady waiting and wondering when her bridegroom will come. I wrote it because I wanted to encourage and inspire other single ladies not to despair or be discouraged while waiting. I wrote it so other single and unattached ladies like me then would know how to make the most of their season of singleness. Little did I know that while I was busy pursuing my passions at that time, I would meet the Valentine I was waiting and praying for.

I’m no longer dateless on Valentine’s Day these days. There’s now someone who sends me flowers, brings me unexpected gifts, or writes me love messages… someone who holds my hand not just when we’re dancing but also when we’re praying, someone I can go out with for a romantic Valentine date. One thing I learned though over the years is that those dateless Valentine nights contributed much to my current joy; for through them, I grew to know myself more, which led me to have greater certainty of the kind of man I want to spend the rest of my days with, not just on Valentine’s Day. Today, I look back with gratitude for all those dateless years. I’m grateful that they have taught me much and formed me into the woman that I am now. I’m thankful even for the sadness and pain I endured during those lonely nights for they helped me appreciate more the joy and love that God has brought into my life right now not just on Valentine night but every single day of my married life.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Tere,

    This is such a beautiful article, so inspiring. And yes, I could relate. Haha! :)

    Thanks for sharing my friend! :)