By Crystal Harkless
When I first arrived, I was met by a few stares that seem to say "who is this and is she at the right location". I have seen this happen in the movies on many occasions, but I have only experienced it a few times in my young life. I was introduced and I started my rounds of hand shakes and friendly smiles to try to ease that uncomfortable feeling that was trying to take over my body. Afterwards I found myself standing alone by the food table and then quickly spotted a chair in the corner where I retreated for the rest of the night. Thankfully, I ended up by another food platter which comforted my soul as I waited for the right time to make my exit.
As I surveyed the room, it appeared I was the only single, childless, and for certain the only African American among the guests. Can you say triple whammy! Fortunately, a couple of the guests came over to make small talk with me. Rather it was out of pity or something else, I was grateful. I left that outing with so many thoughts running through my mind that I couldn't even sleep that night.
As singles, we can sometimes find ourselves in some very awkward situations. Society can make you feel like the "odd ball in the group" when it seems you are out numbered by those that are married with children. Continuous race issues in America can also make you feel there is a racial divide when you find yourself as the outsider and the only one of color in a group. I believe God is challenging all of us to change our perspective on racial issues as well as how we view our marital status. Could it be that our perspectives on these issues are perpetuating them?
So, the question is what can we do now to change things in the future? One thing I have decided to do is fellowship with those of a different race especially on Sundays. Our churches are still very much segregated. I do believe the Lord wants us to come together as one people worshiping and praising His name together. Maybe this will open the door to people taking the initiative to get to know one another and work on establishing better relationships.
Singles, let's also start wearing our status as a symbol of pride! There are many of us that could very well have chosen to get married by now, but instead decided to wait for a God ordained marriage that we believe He will bless and sustain. We can and have made huge contributions in our communities. Therefore, we should no longer allow others to exclude us from serving in positions in the church or elsewhere simply because of our marital status. In closing, we must realize that diversity is something to be embraced and not shunned, especially if we ever expect to see the changes our forefathers spoke of and marched for.