Before getting married, I found it difficult to attend Church on Sundays by myself. After all, Sunday is supposed to be a family day, a day of joy.
Yet, people who are single can often find themselves very lonely. Ever since moving away from my family in Massachusetts and coming to Connecticut, attending Mass every Sunday by myself was tough.
Though I loved Jesus, I still often felt very alone, surrounded on all sides by other couples and families. Sunday is supposed to be a family day, but I felt like the only person who didn’t have one.
I knew I would get married someday, but at the time, I wasn’t married, wasn’t engaged, and wasn’t even dating anyone. It was just me, and I felt the weight of that.
To rub salt in my wounds, I then had to go home and eat by myself on the Lord’s Day making the loneliness all the more tangible. I often filled the silence while I ate by watching a lighthearted movie.
Every once in a while, my best friend’s family would invite me over to eat and play games all afternoon with them. Each and every time, I felt whole and complete.
As someone who finally got married, I can say that I love going to Mass with my wife now, going to eat with her after, and spending the whole day with her. I had to wait a long time for this, but it was definitely worth the wait!
So, if you are feeling empty and alone on the Sabbath day, I completely understand and empathize with you. And, while it may not cure you completely, I would like to offer some friendly advice. My hope is that it will help you to cope until that day when your soul mate becomes a reality!
1. Learn the Spiritual Lesson: No one can make us happy except God! No marriage and no person can give us peace or joy that lasts. Every time we experience disappointment or loneliness (in or out of marriage), it’s supposed to remind us that nothing on this earth can satisfy us except God.
As empty as it may feel, it is important nonetheless to run even more to Jesus, to cling to Him, and to beg for His peace and fulfillment in your life. Ideally, we should be fulfilled in God whether or not we ever get married. It’s helpful to remember that God is love and the source of all love. Thus, coming closer to Him and growing in the spiritual life will only prepare us for a happy marriage and make us better lovers.
2. Hang Out With People: As often as possible, it is helpful to hang out with family, relatives, or friends. If your family is not around, it is important to have positive people you can spend time with. Now, this may entail you doing more of the calling, making plans, and inviting people over for dinner/out to the mall, etc., but doing so is important.
It helps you make that important human connection on a day when loneliness threatens to take over. Even if you hang out with a friend or group of friends in the evening for a short while, this helps because it gives you something to look forward to during the day, the promise of good company to bond with.
3. Get Out: When no one is available, there are other possible options. You can walk around the mall, go to a coffee shop and people watch, take a long walk, etc. I realize that these options won’t be useful to everyone, but sometimes it’s helpful to just be around other people and take your mind off yourself.
4. Employ a Hobby: People who have meaningful hobbies are more likely to put their time to better use rather than just twiddling their thumbs. I used to write Catholic pamphlets on different subjects every Sunday, and I could do this for hours. While it doesn’t compare to hanging out with people, finding something you like to do can be a good helpful alternative.
5. Serve Others: Serving others makes us happier and more fulfilled for it is always in giving of ourselves that we receive! So, look for ways you can serve and make a difference (volunteer at a soup kitchen, cook someone food, help someone in need, etc). As a result, you too will grow and become a better person.
Don’t lose hope! Keep your head up and remind yourself of the long term perspective. If you’re called to marriage, then it’s only a matter of time until you find your soul mate. At that time, every Sunday will be a family day where love is present and where you worship and thank God together!