Living single and OK with it

By Nancy Hudec | Contributor
Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beth Knobbe has not met her match and is not even looking. For Knobbe, finding Mr. Right is not a priority or a possibility.

Knobbe made a vocational choice to live a full and abundant Christian life as a single person. A campus minister at Northwestern University’s Sheil Catholic Center, with a masters of divinity from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Knobbe addressed her vocation at a “Is It OK to be Single?” conversation sponsored by ReCiL Young Adults and Reflect Christ’s Light, the archdiocesan pastoral strategic plan.

Held at Notre Dame de Chicago Church, the Sept. 21 event attracted a mixed group of married and single young adults.

Knobbe’s singular choice, also outlined in her two books, “Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose and Passion” and “Finding My Voice: A Young Woman’s Perspective” made for some spirited and soul-searching discussions.

Discussions began with Knobbe asking her audience if they were single and why they came to hear her speak. “To help empower my children to live the best lives they can,” said a single father of three. “To get insight into rejuvenating my spiritual self now that I am newly single,” was another response.

One woman’s comments that her friends were “freaking out” she was still single evoked small chuckles and triggered Knobbe’s response that when choosing to be single, some friends wondered why she did not join a religious group, while others questioned why she was comfortable remaining single.

The answer was simple: By freeing herself to stop dating Knobbe found a new sense of freedom and peace.

“I was wasting emotional energy dating and worrying about finding a mate. I was missing the point that single years can bring abundance and joy if we welcome it as a gift from God,” said Knobbe.

Quick to point out she is not anti-marriage or a relationship guru, Knobbe said society has over-romanticized marriage.

“Too much hype is put on the [wedding] day and not enough emphasis on marriage being the start of a lifetime of commitment,” she said.

Intimacy, or the sense of being close to another, is not, Knobbe pointed out, exclusive to marriage. “Intimacy can be expressed in many different ways and does not refer only to marriage and sexual intimacy.”

Knobbe said the church today has an obligation to address the needs of singles.

“Too often we are in parishes with lots of family activities especially when there is a school. Many times singles are not participants in the church family because they are singles,” she said citing Sunday Mass ushers picking more families than singles to bring up the gifts.

“The church needs to be more receptive to the single community, which will only serve to enrich the entire community,” Knobbe said.

“Singles have many special talents, and we are ready and willing to share them with the entire faith community.”