When I look back on my most exciting adventures as a single woman, I won't remember wishing I'd been having sex instead. I didn't. Yes, I am trying to obey God through chastity during this season, but closing myself off to sex has hardly closed me off to my body as well.
The day after I turned 33, I climbed inside a small, three-wheeled taxi, rode to the edge of a jungle deep in the Amazon, and hiked 90 minutes to a tiny village. Several hours later, I found myself eating cake with students at a small mission school there after a few rounds "Feliz Cumpleaños" in honor of my birthday and a special anniversary for the school.
I could not have been more bodily present to that adventure than I was. It was more than enough, to feel a sandy, wood-plank floor beneath bare feet, smell the cooking fire over which a late-night snack was prepared, hear the joyful singing of strangers with whom I shared a deep spiritual kinship, see their smiles in the flickering light, and eat the cake with which we celebrated each other and our vastly good God.
In his goodness, that God has kept me single far longer than I ever wanted. Yet perhaps precisely because I have stayed single for so long, I have been free to visit a dozen countries and more than 20 states, free to hear jazz in India, feel equatorial rain on my skin in Singapore, eat tiny fried shark in New Zealand, smell sage and piñon in Santa Fe, andsee the 200-year-old home where my great grandmother lived as a girl on the Isle of Mann.
Do then I define my single adulthood as saying no to sex or as stretching the boundaries of bodily experience ever outward? Both are true in a way, yet I would argue the latter accounts more completely for my life since I left ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more