No Complaining in Our Streets

There’s a phenomenon that I’m observing, and I’m not sure what to think about it. Has anyone else noticed it?

It’s this: it’s ok for young moms to complain about how tired they are and how cranky their children are. It’s ok for  other moms to announce to the world how worried they are about their teens driving, or the dreadful trouble they had washing their husband’s shirts, or how their house is always a wreck because of the husband and children. It’s all part of life; it’s expected–or at least accepted–to complain.

But it’s not ok for singles to tell their world about their worries. Wives can fuss about their husbands, but singles aren’t free to mention that their husbands don’t sit beside them at the church potluck. Wives are allowed to worry aloud about their husband’s job change, but singles feel unheard if they mention how weary they are of needing to decide every year if they’ll teach school again. Singles are expected to be independent but it’s ok if the wife complains that her husband didn’t fill the car with gas.

Maybe singles’ worries are more personal, and shouldn’t be public. Maybe they need a spokesperson who says ‘guess what–did you know the single girl who appears so happy and independent actually cries alot when she’s alone, and she wishes she had the things you complain about?’

What are the dynamics going on here with these unspoken rules about complaining? Can anyone tell  me?

Or maybe all of us, whoever and wherever we are, should try to stop complaining.

Heaven knows (and  my closest friends do too) that I do more than my share of complaining. I have no excuse except that sometimes it feels like the whole world has gone on without me and all I can do is wail. But a gentle voice emerges between the wails reminding me that there is something more sure than loneliness and stronger than pain. (You know how a parent talks to his child while the child catches his breath when it’s crying? That’s what God does to me.)

And if I listen long enough in my whimpering, that voice persuades me that I was really foolish to complain because I’m not the center of the world, and there’s a lot of heart break out there that I should care about, and how about washing someone’s feet instead of navel-gazing?

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