At our first (in)courage beach trip, I was the only single girl in attendance.
But you wouldn’t have known it.
We talked about our lives, we talked about our writing, we took tons of pictures and jumped across every bed with childish abandon. Yes, they talked about marriage and married life and all that entails – laundry woes I do not comprehend – but I never felt out of place even though I couldn’t contribute to that particular conversation.
Because they invited me. So I knew I was welcome there.
Christine Caine says, “Their invitation is your permission.” And as I often find myself the only single girl or the only female or the youngest most inexperienced person in any particular room (or the oldest for that matter!), I repeat that mantra to myself.
“If they have invited me, that’s my permission to be here.”
And friend. This is your invitation.
My single friend – divorced, single again, never married, whatever label you wear around – you have been invited to sit at this table.
I’m thinking about this a lot this month because I hear you. I hear the single women readers when they reach out to me and say, “I wasn’t sure I fit at (in)courage because I’m not juggling dirty diapers and dirty dishes.” I hear the singles when they say “I’m not sure a room of mamas I don’t know are going to connect at all with me and my lifestyle.” I hear you.
And I’m here to tell you that you have been invited to sit at this table, the (in)courage table, the (in)RL table, so take a seat.
Take. A. Seat.
Your story matters to us. The women around you, the ones who see your face at church or at work or the ones who read you online. Your hurts matter, your life matters, your wisdom is needed. You have much to offer and much to gain.
So take a seat.
In two weeks, when women across the world will gather around tables and computers and stories, don’t stay home. Don’t tell yourself that your perspective isn’t welcome. Don’t miss out on giving your heart to the other (in)RL ladies.
It doesn’t mean you’ll have words for every conversation. It doesn’t mean you won’t have moments of feeling out of place or awkward. Every woman in the room will. It’s life – messy and challenging live in the palm of an honest and open hand.
But you have been invited. You are welcome here. So sit down, share your story, and be a vocal part of this beautiful (in)courage community.
(And dear marrieds and mamas, please prove me true. Please give her a seat, whoever “her” is. A single mom, a widowed 30-something, a still single 54 year old woman. Don’t feel pressure to cater to every subgroup, but be welcoming, be open, and share your story. We need your story, too.)