“Bring anything you have in your fridge or on your counter you have to share – leftovers from family gatherings this weekend, anyone?” Those words concluded my last-minute email invitation. After pressing ”Send” I wondered if anyone would even dare to show up, especially since the Fourth of July party would begin in just over 24 hours.
The next day I unlocked my door before 7 p.m. and ladies actually did begin to trickle in. When the first Single Sister arrived with two half-full bottles of wine and three cellophane-wrapped hamburger buns, I knew we were in for a fun – albeit, possibly famishing – night. But then I remembered how Jesus had only two fish and a few loaves of bread and ended up feeding 5,000. Might these buns and bottles multiply?
As single women from their 30’s to 70’s continued to arrive with contributions in hand, the anticipation as well as the laughter grew as the contents of their sacks were unveiled. A variety of nuts, partial bags of chips, bottles of wine (opened and intact), cookies, more wine, brownie bites, more wine, cheese and crackers – the bounty just kept coming! Soon it became evident that some Sisters had not followed the “bring what’s in your fridge or on your counter” rule! Becky appeared with a beautifully arranged cheese tray, complete with a fresh harvest of juicy grapes – a platter that could easily have been displayed on a reception table at the Conrad. And Karen’s dozen-plus homemade cupcakes certainly were not just sitting on her counter. Nor was her perfectly seasoned pasta salad with diced fresh veggies a leftover in her fridge. The spread was reminiscent of the feeding of the 5,000 – or maybe more accurately, the Wedding at Cana. (And it’s safe to say we didn’t run out of wine.)
Our time was filled with laughter and encouragement as we shared our lives – including everything from work to dating to a wide variety of single-life challenges. We also planned our first trip. In fact, the vacation discussion began within five minutes of introductions, when Diane threw out dates for a fall road trip to Nashville. The Single Sisters are already going places!
As the night drifted on and friends departed, I smiled knowing that we’d all had a better night together than we would have had on our own. We need one another – to encourage, empower, and sometimes to just hang out on the patio. Because being single is sometimes tough and can be lonely.
In his book, Show Up – Step Out of Your Story and Into Someone Else’s, David Staal sums that reality up well at the end of his first chapter. “Loneliness is a hole people find themselves in, for whatever the reason,” he writes. “Sometimes for just a moment; other times for a few months, maybe longer. After attempts to stretch, climb, jump, and other futile efforts, exhaustion eventually sets in and they sit down. I’ve been that person enough to know the only solution: someone willing to show up and extend a hand – or even just a pinky.”
On this 4th of July, which ended with fireworks blasting around us, we had twelve sets of pinkies show up, along with more food and wine than we could ever consume. Loneliness (or hunger) on that night? Not a chance!