The Empty Salsa Jar

Being a single adult affords more than its fair share of awkward moments. Weddings are a fan favorite – especially during those slow dances that are all about showing the one you love how much you care. Family Christmas letters are another – there’s only so many times that people want to read the latest news on your career. Even something as seemingly benign as going to church can be a cause for chagrin. There is, after all, no quicker way to clear a row of seats at church than to have a grown person sit at one end. Immediately there will be a berth of 10 feet granted by the remaining of the congregants.

Although these public displays of aloneness can be discomfiting, there are some private moments that also have their share of vexation. Like an empty salsa jar. It’s not that you’re out of salsa that causes the concern (although that does have its fountain of pain) its realizing that since the time you bought the salsa and the time you can see through to the bottom no one else has eaten it but you. I guess some (i.e. guys) may see this as a sense of accomplishment but it has its hints of sadness too. After all, we were made for community and if there’s not even someone to share your salsa with, you kind of realize how very on your own you are. Even those of us blessed enough to have a caring family or steady friends know that while we might be able to convince someone to come over and eat some dip with us, no one is legally or spiritually obligated to share in our food, to be a part of our household. You realize that “your immediate family” is now just you.

Somehow though, along with minor flashes of despair, there is a sense of comfort in this too. As much as I might like someone to share my life with, I know that I’ve learned things I never would have if I could conveniently lean on another. As it is its just me and God, and it doesn’t take long for me to realize that I’m not going to cut it. There’s freedom without obligation and this has allowed me to experience life in a way that family responsibilities don’t allow (Spontaniety is a lot easier when the only schedule to consider is your own.) Patience is an obvious (although imperfect) bi-product of the unfulfilled anticipation. Security too, knowing that although life may not turned out as I planned, God’s plans will prevail.

Someday I hope to have someone else to blame the empty salsa jar on (along with the dirty dishes, messy closet and a whole host of other things.) Until then, I’m grateful for the lessons that the journey affords and the fact that no one steals the chips!

What do you think?