A couple of months ago, I was talking with a good friend from college who identifies as homosexual. I'm not sure what sparked the conversation, but she expressed her concern that she felt I honestly believed God would hate me if I dated a woman.
She was genuinely concerned, and I really appreciated that, but I could tell that she had some misconceptions about how I would live my life and how I could be fulfilled even while not acting on my sexual desires towards women.
"You can't force yourself to be with a man and I think God would rather you love and be happy than be single."
This statement perplexed me. It really showed how deep-seated this belief was for her. I didn't really know how to express everything that I was thinking at the time, but now I want to try to do so by breaking down what she said, and addressing all of her concerns.
Overall, I think the main question here is this: Can a person live a chaste, single life, and still be happy?
You Can't Force Yourself to Be With a Man
I've said this in previous blogs, but I think it's important to reiterate this here: If I am called to marriage, I would be extremely happy!
I've wanted to be married since I was a little girl. Even when, in the height of fighting against my same-sex desires in high school, I had my dream man in the back of my mind.
He was a kind, strong, and devoted Catholic man, ready and willing to be the best husband and father he could possibly be. Honestly, I still think about this to this day!
"So you're bi-sexual, then?" Some of you might be saying. Let me address this as well.
I stick to my guns as a female person, a woman, created in the image and likeness of God, designed with the desire to return back to Him. This is my identity, and this is what I see myself as. That being said, yes, I do mind myself attracted to both men and women. However, I will only act on my desire towards men.
So no, I would not be "forcing myself" to be with a man. I would love to be with a man.
But not just a man, my husband (should marriage be my calling in life).
I would willingly and lovingly choose to love my husband every day, and that thought does not scare me, does not cause me stress or anxiety, but peace and joy.
Still, I am only 21-years-old, and am not 100% positive that I am called to married life.
We shall see, I guess!
God Would Rather I Love and Be Happy Than Be Single
There's three things I want to address in regards to this portion of her statement.
1)God wills that I love, and love well.
One of my favorite parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is paragraph 2331, which reads:
"God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image..., God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion."
(italics in original)
"My vocation is to love," St. Therese of Lisieux so famously said, and she's exactly right! God would never and COULD never call me to do anything other than love, and love to the best of my ability!
This is written in the very nature of my humanity, being made in the image and likeness of the God Who is love Himself. This fact ties into my second point, which is:
2) God wills my happiness.
He does! God does not want me to live a miserable life where I walk around with my head bowed, my fists balled, and my legs crossed!
This might be news to some people, but it's so true.
Going back to the Catechism, this quote on happiness in relation to the virtue of hope comes to mind:
"The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has places in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude."
(CCC, 1818) (italics added)
God has placed the aspiration to happiness in the heart of every man! He doesn't place desires in our hearts that He can't fulfill, so we must be able to experience happiness!
I know that whenever I do something that I know I'm meant to be doing, that I know I was called by God to do, that brings me happiness and joy. So I know that whatever God asks of me, it is in His will for me that I will find my ultimate happiness, even if that means that I remain single.
3) I Can Be Happy and Single
We live in a society that insists that being in a relationship, specifically a romantic relationship, is basically the only thing that can make us really happy in life.
In every single God-given vocation, whether that be married life, religious life, or chaste single life, there is the possibility of growth in virtue; and growth in virtue always leads to joy.
The notion that I need a romantic partner to ensure that I live a happy life will only lead to misery. That's not a healthy way to think, whether I'm in a relationship or not.
Yes, we are made for communion, and communion is a very good thing! However, it is not the source of our ultimate happiness. God is.
I rest in the knowledge that God is the source of my happiness, and He always will be, no matter what my vocation in life is.
Currently, I'm leading a very happy life as a single person. Again, I'm still quite young, and have my whole life ahead of me, God willing! But believe me, I know that I can rejoice in the fact that whatever life I'm called to live, God will be there with me, and in Him, I find my rest, my hope, my happiness, and my joy.
Being single is not the end of the world. Neither is being chaste!
I am very happy, and my life is very worth living, even if I'm living it alone with God.