break ups, breakups, Church, divorce, loss of loved one, loss of partner, loss of spouse, newly single, Pastoral Care, Single, single in the sanctuary, Singlehood, Valentine's Day, Widowed, widows
It occurred to me a couple of days ago that this would be the first Valentine’s Day without my dad. While that makes little impact on my life, it does, however mean that my mom is without a partner for the first time in about 48 years.
I’m not exactly sure how my mom is feeling today, nor do I want to assume those feelings or explore what traditions she may be missing. But since it’s been less than six months since the death of my dad, a day like Valentine’s Day has the potential to stir up feelings in people who have recently lost their significant other.
And she is not alone in this life transition.
In our groups of friends as well as the people in our congregations, there are always people changing relationship status – and sometimes not for the better. Our neighbors are experiencing breakups, divorces and losing spouses to death. When a relationship has made a huge impact on a life (whether the team was married or not), there remains a large hole in the lives of those who are grieving. Valentine’s Day can be another sharp and blazing reminder to this recent loss.
With all of this being said, it’s also our job as the Body of Christ to be present in the ashes of people who have been single for years – especially friends who do not enjoy their singlehood status. Every year when Valentine’s Day rolls around, the aches of singlehood intensify, leaving them to wonder what is next.
Whether someone has recently lost someone or has been single for years, there is one less person to bring them flowers, candy or a nice fancy dinner.
So this is the challenge to the church: how will we be there for our single siblings in faith today? How can we recognize that new losses could be extremely uncomfortable on a day like Valentine’s Day? How can we deliver to them a bit of love – especially when delivery trucks will not be coming by their homes today?
A Prayer for the Newly Single on Valentine’s Day
Divine One whose son showed us how to love,
On this day filled with sparkles and glitter,
Help us to remember our siblings who sit in the ashes of relationships.
May those of us in romantic bliss exit our bubbles for a little while
To show love to those abiding solo among us.
May their hearts feel full and complete today.
May they see a love that fulfills them.
If their hearts yearn for their own partners,
May they find the one who will love them as they are
And may their future Valentine’s Days be ones of joy.