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Singleness Sound-off: When Will It Be My Turn?

Monday, February 8, 2010

In “honor” of Valentine’s Day being Sunday, following is an article I wrote in 2002 for a Writing for Magazines course I took in college.

Me next! Me next!

Have you ever experienced that feeling? It’s an emotion I associate with P.E. class in elementary school where we all stood in a line while the two team captains for kick-ball chose their teams. Every time a name was called, I hoped to hear mine next, but it didn’t usually get called until after everyone else was chosen. After a few years, I gave up on the idea of being chosen anything but last—not just in P.E., but in life. My mother always told me that one day, when that “special someone” came along, I’d get to experience what it’s like to be chosen first.

I’m still waiting on my turn. The disappointment associated with the “my turn syndrome” was learned early in my life, although, it doesn’t usually bother me that I’m still single at my age. However, I start to feel the onset of the “my turn syndrome” as soon as Kroger takes the Christmas candy and decorations down and replaces them with heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and oversized teddy bears.

In second grade, I remember the shoeboxes we decorated for the annual Valentine’s card exchange. Each child was given a list of names of all of the children in the class with a note on the top to instruct our parents that we were to bring a card for each child in the class. I got Mom to take me to Safeway where I picked out a box of small cut-out Looney-Toon cards. When I got home, I dumped them on the table and sorted through them, setting aside the potentially embarrassing ones to give to girls and the more innocuous ones to give to boys. I had to be very choosy because there was one little boy I liked; his card had to be just perfect.

The next morning, with all of the cards sealed in their little white envelopes, I found it hard to concentrate during the morning, too excited about the party I’d looked forward to all week. I eagerly hoped to find a special card from that same little boy with maybe an extra little note written on it, like I had done on his.

Party time finally came. I was excited as I went around depositing cards into every classmate’s box. We weren’t allowed to open the cards at school—we had to take them home. I could hardly wait. Had he given me a special Valentine? For the second time in as many days, a box of Valentines got dumped on the dining room table as soon as I got home. I counted them… twenty-three. But I had prepared twenty-eight cards last night, one for every other student in the class. One of the five that I didn’t get was from him… the little boy I liked.

This was my first experience with the “my turn syndrome” and the first time I realized that everything I had been programmed to believe about Valentine’s Day wasn’t true. Of course, childhood disappointment is offset with the hope that my turn will come in the teenage years.

Since most TV shows in the 1980s showed romance blossoming when a girl was in high school, I hoped my turn was soon to come. In eleventh grade, I was assigned a locker in the “locker corridor” in my large public high school. It was where all of the important and popular kids had lockers. It was too crowded to try to get to my locker between classes, but it allowed me to learn where the locker of the boy I had a crush on was, and he knew where mine was. We spoke to each other occasionally in passing, and I hoped he liked me, too.

Surely now it would be my turn. By lunch time on Valentine’s Day, the first time I was able to get back to my locker since before first period, almost all of the lockers surrounding mine had some kind of flower—some were roses, some were carnations—stuck by the stem into the vents on the locker doors. Mine did not.

I consoled myself with the thought that maybe my turn would come later. After three and a half years of not having my turn in college, I went into the work world and realized that the chances at getting my turn were becoming fewer and fewer.

The next thing I know, my thirtieth birthday had come and gone and I’m still waiting for my turn. During the days before Valentine’s Day, I avoid the Seasonal Products aisle at Kroger between January 1 and February 14. I change the channel when Hallmark commercials come on. I try to refrain from making the finger-down-the-throat motion when the girl in the next cubicle at work talks about the romantic evening her boyfriend has planned for her. I roll my eyes and change the subject when someone mentions Valentine’s Day. I turn my head when the flowers and balloons are delivered. I camp out at home rather than endure the humiliation of attending the church Valentine’s Day Banquet alone.

Valentine’s Day is the holiday that feels like it was designed specifically to remind me of everything I don’t have instead of giving me the hope that someday it will be my turn.

So what can I do to save myself the cycle of negativity and anxiety that I associate with Valentine’s Day?

When I asked my pastor this, he pointed me to John 15:18-19: “‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.’” (NIV)

At first, I thought, Gee, thanks for reminding me that the world hates me, but then I read further and deeper. The point wasn’t that the world hates me, but that, in fact, I have been chosen. My turn came almost two thousand years before I was born.

Therefore, this Valentine’s Day when I see the red hearts, I will think of Jesus’ heart that was broken for me. When I see the beautiful roses, I will think of the crown of thorns He wore for me. When I see others receiving boxes of chocolate, I will think of how sweet my Savior’s love is for me.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me my turn.

  1. Monday, February 8, 2010 8:44 am



  2. Monday, February 8, 2010 10:28 am

    I wish your thoughts would make it into those Hallmark commercials. Great writing, Kaye.


  3. Monday, February 8, 2010 12:09 pm

    Beautiful perspective! God bless you.


  4. Becky Miller permalink
    Monday, February 8, 2010 12:52 pm

    This got me choked up. Thanks for the reminder that my First Love first chose me.


  5. Monday, February 8, 2010 1:40 pm

    What you said so beautifully reminded me of Isaiah 55:8-9. I’m so glad that “his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and his ways are higher than our ways.” We are loved.


  6. Monday, February 8, 2010 4:38 pm

    Good post.


  7. L-B permalink
    Friday, February 12, 2010 12:21 am

    Hey Kaye! Wow, I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading your post! Thanks for the reminder that as believers we are loved and we have been chosen by God. Instead of wishing I had a boyfriend who would do something sweet for me, this valentines day I want to think about what I can do to honour and glorify the Lord, and not just on valentines day, but everyday.


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