I speak for the trees


People / Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.

Dr. Seuss

*****

Dear Ladies,

Having written a note to the other half of the species, I would like to direct a comment your way as well.

Once upon a time I tried to convince my four-year-old son Aarick, who was in danger of wishing to be a girl like Mommy, that boys have way more fun. I touched on sports, on career options, and on authority, concluding with a clinching argument: “And you see, when a man loves a lady, he can ask her to marry him; but a lady has to wait and it’s hard.” My son thought about that for a while and said, “When a lady asks, does a man say ‘Yes, but don’t do it again’?”

A man was created to initiate. When he does it (her acceptance: his bliss / her rejection: his agony), he’s entering into his birthright, which cannot quite be taken away no matter what her reply. A woman was created to respond. It’s pretty hard to respond to silence, and her birthright is in danger at every moment: from his reticence, his indifference, and his rejection.

Single men may grouse about uninterested women as they wish (and with good reason), but single women have not yet found a platform from which to grouse about uninterested men.

I speak for the trees.

I confess it: I still argue that a greater percentage of single men than single women are single by choice, but I do see that Percentage and Choice have little comfort to offer a broken heart. No one chooses rejection. Or silence. Or no.

We are, in fact, trying to understand a most mysterious dance, similar (if you will forgive me) to the problem of a job for every worker. Here are the jobs. Here are the workers. Why can’t we match them up?

Well.

Even if the supply exactly matched the demand (a sanguine hope in this fallen world), someone would end up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone would say no to the job so freely offered; someone would hanker for the job not meant for him; someone would try to work a second job on the swing shift; and some would be too lazy to pursue even one. And then imagine a world in which the jobs were given their druthers as well! “Nope, don’t want that guy; nope. Nope.”

Because in the end, very few of us just want a match. We want The One.

So.

To you dear ladies, whose side I am on… and to you … uh… men… whose side can fight for itself… If you and The One have not yet found each other, remember that you face more than a simple problem of information. (If he just knew that you wanted a man…! Or if she just knew how many women you’d asked already…!) You face a more complex situation–and a more competent God–than all that.

Take heart. Be strong. Step forward in faith.

But let those of us who are already dancing with a partner put in a little plug for you now and then.

Love,

Shari Zook

5 Replies to “I speak for the trees”

  1. There is a lot that I COULD write, in response to all that has been written on this topic. I am going to exercise considerable restraint.

    I have, and have had, good friends of both genders, who fill in S as their marital status on forms.

    I would like to share a bit of wisdom that came from a very Godly single lady, still single to this day. She speculated that single men probably have a much tougher time dealing the need for intimacy than ladies do. Ladies are much better at dealing with their emotions; they call Mom, or they get together and commiserate with their single friends, or they meet a married lady for intimate fellowship over coffee. They can find intimacy in other ways; sure, it’s not the Ultimate Fulfillment, but they struggle in a healthy way, and find intimacy in friendships.

    Men, on the other hand….. well, they were created to find intimacy in a lady companion. Full stop. Yes, men can have close male friends, and praise God when they do, and praise God when they are able to share their pain with each other. It does happen.

    But really, how often does a typical man find it within himself to call a friend and say “I’m feeling lonely, can you meet me for coffee?” (The reader of this comment may resume reading when he is finished rolling on the floor laughing).

    Even if he has the where-with-all to identify, isolate, and articulate the emotions, and then nerve to call a friend, then the question becomes does the friend know what to do with that? Awkward. Very, very awkward silence at the other end of the line. Then “let’s go kill some wildlife, and you can rub dirt it it. It’ll feel better.”

    And this isn’t even broaching the sexual drive that single men have no healthy outlet for.

    At the end of the day, my personal perspective is simply that the body of Christ needs more care for each other and less judgement on each other regarding singlehood, and whose fault it may be.

    And for any men who are reading this, if you know any single men in the body of Christ, take the time and effort to reach out to them. Too often we assume that single Christian men are “doing OK” because they never articulate any problems. Find some way to get them to share how they are doing. How they are Really Doing.

    Because when a single man is drowning in a sea of loneliness and hurt, he won’t call for a life preserver.

  2. Having married a guy who was an “older single” (sort of) and having had a brother who was definitely “older single” before he finally found the one, this series of blog posts is of great interest to me. And, I have some single female friends too!

    So I have to agree with this comment: Because when a single man is drowning in a sea of loneliness and hurt, he won’t call for a life preserver.

    That. Exactly.

    In my case, my now-husband was gallantly and unselfishly trying to match a younger friend of his up with me . . . as it turned out, neither of us felt led to each other–and my now-husband finally realized his “mistake” and claimed me for his own. Thankfully.

  3. Thank you for having the bravery to speak for the trees. You are right. The trees cannot speak for themselves.

    As for single ladies having a plethora of friends to unload on, that may or may not be true. Many single women feel the isolation intensely when most of their friends have married. And not all have a supply of close family members to fill in the gap.

    However, I do see and understand the points others have made in response to these two posts. Being a man does not make singlehood pain-free, no. But then that wasn’t your point, I don’t suppose.

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