Last weekend I was taken by surprise. I turned up at a meeting before church under the pretence it was about becoming “more welcoming.” I brought along notes, I even brought along hot chips. It was a conversation I was ready for. But as I looked around the room, the people I had expected to be there weren’t and the whole thing just felt a little odd.
And then it begun.
Senior Minister: “It has come to our attention that some single adults…” [ability to listen abruptly ends]
And there it was, it was a meeting of single people.
The meeting continued and I shared my disagreement at the claim put forward: I think we can be more welcoming in general, but I disagree with the suggestion it is linked to relationship status. The meeting ended and we went up to church. Feeling uneasy about the whole situation I flicked off an email to the three ministers in attendance at the meeting and attached my notes for the meeting I thought we were having before I went to bed.
But as the week went on, I continued to feel uneasy.
Then last night when I met my assistant minister’s wife for the first time (after 18 months! eek!) I realised why I was uneasy. The conversation went a little like:
Me: “Hello, I don’t think we’ve met before – I’m Melanie.”
“Ah yes, i’ve heard a lot about you and see your emails come through — another one for Trent.”
Then from nearby a dear friend hollered: “She’s the outspoken single adult at church.”
In my standard response in situations of nervousness, I laughed. The moment passed and we went on conversing.
I was thinking as I drove home last night why the comment hit a chord. I know my friend meant nothing by it as I give as much as I take from him. But today I completed a survey for Witchery in order to get a $10 voucher. One of the first questions was this one:
It exemplifies the reality – society is about relationships. Indeed, this world is about relationships. But so often we are defined by our relation to a significant other. I really don’t have any resolve for this thought, only that it seems we are all guilty of applying labels and making assumptions – precisely the reason Witchery has asked the question. No doubt, I, as an adult not in a relationship with a significant other, spend more on clothes at Witchery than someone married/living with another sharing resources, discussing and settling on an amount that one should spent on new clothes. Perhaps I’m just more sensitive because I don’t have a significant other and it seems to bring with it particular stigmas – point being I’m the ‘outspoken’ one.