Fringe-dweller

I've written before about being unmarried in a very married world; and the way people in churches have trouble knowing how to treat me, and people like me. I didn't talk about my current church in that post, but for the most part I have to say I'm very happy there and I've rarely been made to feel like a freak for being unmarried. Sometimes it's unavoidable because people make assumptions about what my life is like and then act on the basis of those assumptions. And sometimes it's unavoidable because I might be having a bad day or a 'hating being single and feeling sorry for myself' day, in which case I'm going to take the most innocent comment in a negative way. However, leaving out bad days and clueless people, mostly I just feel like another member of the church community. No big deal.

Tonight, however, was different. We had our church AGM and celebration dinner and mostly it was a really nice evening. Good food, lots of people there, I chatted with a few people I hadn't really got to know before, one of my friends performed a song she'd written for the evening, there was lemon sponge for dessert (shhh... don't tell any of my Bovine Buddies). It was relaxing and fun. At one point during the evening they played a DVD of different activities that have taken place over the past year, and a slide show of photos. The slide show included a full five minutes of pictures of happy, smiling couples. That's fine; I have no problem with couples. However, they were the ONLY people represented. All the other photos were of events... the only 'posed' shots of people were photos of couples. Every single one. Sure, there are a lot of families and couples at my church - by far the biggest demographic - but they're not the only ones there.

Well, maybe that wouldn't have bothered me too much... until the person taking photos of the evening came up to our table. She took photos of all the couples on our table (ie, every other person at the table) and then walked away. Wow. Good way to make me feel like a fringe-dweller.

I know I'm not a fringe-dweller. There are no fringe-dwellers in God's family - we're all valued and cherished. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Loved children of the creator of the universe. Really, it doesn't get much more awesome than that. I just wish sometimes that people were better at remembering that.


8 comments:

Dee from Downunder said...

Thats not good. I can understand how you feel. I was at an event once with a group, single,and the photographer assumed i was with the guy next to me and took our pic, not the same context as your experience, but shows the "couple mentality". Sorry you are experiencing this.

June Saville said...

Well done on the WTBAY competition. Thought I'd drop in for some of the chocolates ...
June

Hippomanic Jen said...

Oh, oh, oh - on behalf of all married church people I apologise - that's such a dis-community-ifying (I couldn't think of the right word for that) and devaluing experience. I don't know whether it's worse if they did it out of ignorance, or deliberately.

It's different from my church - we have an older congregation, so there are many single widows and hardly any families. Maybe that makes us less couple-centric. I hope we are.

femina said...

My church is normally not like this AT ALL, which is probably why it upset me. I think it was just thoughtlessness... I hope so!

Anyway I had a lovely lunch today with friends - it mattered not a jot that the rest of them were all married; we were together because we all love and value each other as people, regardless of our different life stages and situations. It was delightfully soul-nourishing and did a lot to improve my mood. God does have a wonderful knack of sending people to care for us at just the right time, doesn't he? (And that includes all my caring online friends, old and new.)

Louisa said...

Hey, very well balanced post given such a crappy situation! Totally sucks. You have a great way of putting things & I loved your last paragraph! After our chat this week I hope "personal feedback" about this is on your agenda!!!

June Saville said...

I have been married - and divorced. The first year or two afterwards is a real study because people feel they need to adjust to your new circumstance. Women think you'll steal their husbands ...

femina said...

Oh yeah, I've had that too, mostly from young women who haven't been married very long. They tend to 'wander over' when I'm talking to their husbands. Seriously, if I were going to steal someone's husband would I do it in full view and at a church morning tea??

Kerrie said...

Thanks for visiting yesterday...

I'm sorry for the thoughtlessness at church. It's hard enough being single in a very "coupled" world but to have it shoved in your face like that wasn't fair. Why not a group shot of everyone at your table..??

Is there anyone you can voice your thoughts with..??

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