I received a phone call the other night that I've been treasuring in my heart. I still marvel that this person saw a need that I had never verbalized to her. I was so touched by her insightfulness that, as we were talking Tuesday night, I did not want to forget one word. I don't often feel that way about phone calls.
I almost didn't answer the phone that night because I didn't know the number. It was a 615 area code though, which made me curious about who had my number. I'm so glad I answered.
It was the wife of my new community group leader. Our group met once, a get to know you affair, and then took the last two weeks off. When I was invited to join the group, I asked about the composition of the group. It would be nice to have other singles there but it's not a requirement of mine. I just wanted to be prepared to be the token single if that's where the chips fell. As the group was coming together, three other singles were invited to join, as well as 4 married couples. When I arrived for the first night, I was the only single there. While there were the inevitable odd moments, my impression was that these were my kind of people. There was the right amount of vulnerability, transparency, and imperfection. This was a group I could grow in.
When I answered the phone and heard Emily's voice, I figured she was going to ask me to bring dessert for our gathering the next night. Emily wasn't calling about community group business though. She was calling about my heart.
She wanted to see how I felt about being the only single in our group. She wanted me to know that she wanted me to be part of the group but she gave me permission to join another group if I didn't feel comfortable with them. She welcomed the possibility of other singles joining in the future, as well as other couples.
I was stunned. Someone who recognized that a single person might feel out of place in a roomful of married couples. That is rare, my friends. Rarer than it should be. I can count on one hand the number of people in my life who check in with me to see how I'm doing in my singleness, who recognize I might feel sad after attending another wedding or learning of another friend's pregnancy- no matter how happy I may be for them.
Words cannot express how much Emily's phone call meant to me. She saw an unspoken need and spoke it out loud.
While it would be nice if another single or two joined, I'll be fine if it doesn't happen right away. We both recognized that singles and marrieds have a lot to potentially learn from one another. I love being in small group Bible studies that celebrate the differences between gender, marital status, and background. It is a beautiful thing!
Emily has set the tone for this experience. As I sat in my new community group Wednesday night, taking in more of everyone's story and feeling everyone's warmth and acceptance of me sans spouse, I knew that I was home.