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Solitary Airman

Madison, Wis. -- For the first 36 years of my life, I was single. Call it hyper-caution in a climate of divorce or being "just too picky", as grandma would say, I know what it is like to be single and alone during the holidays.

Of course, being single has moments of real blessing. After all, Jesus was single and he lived a perfect life. For me, it was a real mixture. Springtime was always the toughest season when "love was in the air" (but never on the ground) and Christmas time "for family" was especially tough, too, when almost all my friends had started families of their own.

The question would gnaw inside, "Who really cares about me?" My parents and older brothers? But they too were busy with lives of their own and entire weeks might pass without hearing from them. Of course my arm wasn't broken; I could've picked up the phone more often and called them, but inside, I really wanted them to call me. Wasn't I worth it? During family get-togethers, I was expected to do all the traveling. Never could I expect my brother's' families to come visit me. Where were they to sleep in my small apartment? A single airline ticket was cheaper than packing up an entire family for a long flight or multi-day drive. As my brother's' families grew, mailing multitudes of birthday cards and Christmas gifts presented a significant challenge. When I'd forget one, the self-imposed guilt was crushing! However, when I was on the receiving end, the rules somehow changed. Somehow, love's obligation is cut in half by one's proximity to 25 December 25th. Thus was the invoked the mysterious pronouncement over many of the gifts I received, "This is for your birthday and Christmas." The implication, "You're not worth two."

I am thankful for my bride of almost thirteen years and our three young children. Without disparaging those who are single or re-singled and at the risk of what some label a long overdue pity party, I hope to have raised your awareness of some needs and unintended communications perceived by singles.
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