To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
I once made the unfortunate mistake of telling a friend, who had been divorced and then re-married, that I was “welcoming him back to happy.”
I was sort of correct, if one sifted through my slightly oddball thinking. In my mind at the time, there was joy, the kind that comes only from knowledge of and a relationship with God. This friend was and is one of the most joyful people I have ever known, who revels in his relationship with the Lord. Then there was plain-old happy, the kind that is more superficial and comes with an acceptance of the everyday. My error was assuming that he wasn’t happy being alone, unmarried.
In retrospect, this man, gentle, loving, child of God, was probably one of the best-equipped people I know to lead a fulfilling, happy life after marriage. His children love and respect him. He has a fulfilling service to God through ministry to his congregation and the community through music. He has a rewarding job where he is able to connect with the least of these among us on a day-to-day basis. He didn’t need a marriage partner to be a happy man. He didn’t need a spouse to affirm his day-to-day happiness with life. He has the Lord, who is by far the greatest life partner anyone can ever have.
Now, approaching my own mid-life, looking a single life in the face again, I find myself looking back to that awkward exchange, knowing now what I couldn’t fathom then: I can be happy with my life, apart from my relationships with other people. I am not going to fall apart as my life moves in directions that I never planned. My happiness is not a product of this impermanent life, and cannot be joined to it.
I will have sorrows. At some point I will crave companionship. I will often look at what I had, what I have lost, what I will miss and what will come in its stead. And yet, at the end of the day, I will sing praise to God for the blessings He has given me, the light that he radiates on me, and the goodness and mercy He has shown me.