As I leave Philadelphia, I am grieving the loss of my single friends that abound in the urban setting. Of course, they all would hate to be classified as "single", and after the conference that liberti just hosted on singleness and relationships in the gospel, I understand (I promise) how singleness is not an identity but a conditional state of being and a valuable gift to be used wisely. As a side note, I also learned that many singles in the northeast actually appreciate this state of being far more than I had understood. (It's not every girls dream to be married with 2.5 children?? Is that possible??). Urban areas have a far higher percentage of unmarried people, and many of them like it that way.
Married folk tend to assume that singleness is synonymous with self-absorption. However, the reality is that the contemporary culture is changing and traditional pressures to be married are being exchanged with new ones: identity no longer is defined by last name or having an heir. Self-fulfillment is found in a multitude of other options: career and social life, to name a few.
After reading a great article written by Paige Benton called Singled Out, I was reminded that for starters, neither marriage nor singleness is where we find our ultimate fulfillment; it is neither marriage nor children that should be our sanctifier, but Christ himself. Learning how not to be selfish is not a gift bestowed on those of us who are forced to not be self-focused (due to diapers that just must be changed), but a call to all of us in the body. And looking at this picture of some of my closest single friends in Philly, I clearly see that these girls are far from selfish. Each of them has served my family in many ways. Each of them has called me, challenged me, to find myself in Christ alone.