Beating loneliness and evil could start with a movie ticket
If your experience is anything like mine, one of the reasons you long for relationship and/or marriage may be a desire to put down roots and establish some kind of solidity in your community. Since not even most of our job commitments last more than a few years, marriage is probably one of the last remaining relational contracts we enter with the expectation — or at least hope — of relative permanence. Lacking such agreements, one’s social life can feel as stable as several unconnected buoys sharing little more than proximity. If the water gets choppy, they can’t provide any ballast to each other. Personally, I find that rather stressful — one of the reasons I try to maintain relationships with more than just my fellow single professionals.
Thankfully, I attend a church made up of many young families, couples and students. While we’re still working on the gray-haired contingent, at least we have some relational diversity. In the interest of trying to foster more community among we single folk, though, a few of us have also started organizing monthly socials that aim to foster more community than romance. We find that by keeping things open to both single folks and young married couples, and providing a low-key structure for each event, it provides a safe place to interact with those in a similar life stage, without things slipping into a yucky “meet market” atmosphere.
It’s also been a great way to come together for a purpose greater than just our own relational needs. One month the event was a beer benefit for cancer research; next month we hope to find a venue for holiday-related service of some sort. While all these events have been based on the local calendar, this month the cause is human trafficking, and the event that we’re supporting is the release of a movie you too can attend, if you live in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orange County, Portland, Redwood City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle or Washington, DC.
That movie is Call+Response, a groundbreaking rockumentary that uses songs by musicians such as Moby, Matisyahu, Imogen Heap, Natasha Bedingfield and others — as well as interviews with the likes of Cornel West and Madeline Albright — to expose the world’s multi-billion dollar human trafficking industry.
Personally, I’ve found the numbers a little overwhelming until recently, when I read an excellent four-part series from the San Francisco Chronicle, that followed one young Korean woman’s journey into debt and then prostitution in Los Angeles and San Francisco, after she was trafficked. You Mi’s story — set in city blocks I walk near or through almost every day — really made this issue real for me.
For unmarried people in the church, the shape of relational life and commitments may look a bit different than it does for married people, but our call to lives of service and self-sacrifice is no different. If we focused more of our energy on the needs of others than on the sex and intimacy we’re lacking at present, who knows how much such service could do for our loneliness and longing for community? Whether it’s doing your part to fight human trafficking, or volunteering to babysit for friends who won’t be able to have a date night without you, a role for you is out there. Find it, and you may receive far more than you give.