A couple weeks ago, the Single Guy got a phone call from one of the church leaders. Over the phone, he was presented with the opportunity to sit on a panel of experts for an open forum on relationships.
A note of explanation. The Single Guy, as has been mentioned a number of times, is part of a small group that meets at least once a week. That small group is part of a larger group within the church known as GAP (Graduates and Professionals). Once a month, the larger group gets together for various activities. The Single Guy has only been a part of this group and the church as a whole since January. So he's only been around for a few of these monthly get-togethers.
Back in January, before he got involved with the group, they met for a game night (?), which served as a kick off for the upcoming semester of small group Bible studies. In March, they joined up for a service project, hanging drywall and taking care of various other small construction projects at a local church with whom we have a strong relationship. April's big group centered around a cookie making competition, which in turn became a service project when the cookies were wrapped up and given out to graduate students at Virginia Tech.
This month, the big group would meet to hash out the details of what the word "relationship" was really all about. This is what the panel was being put together for. That panel would sit in front of an audience and answer questions about relationships, which had been submitted by GAP folks. The Single Guy was asked to represent the Singletons. When he was asked, he said he would have to think about it. But he knew right away that he would say yes.
The panel also consisted of Newlyweds, a Married with Children couple and a woman married to a non-believer. These people would represent a wide range of opinions and were willing to dispense the knowledge and wisdom that they had accumulated over the years. Not that the Single Guy really imagined that he had accumulated a great deal of wisdom. Nor did he consider himself to be anything close to an expert. But, being single for his entire life did give him the practical experience that may have been necessary to sit in the comfy seat at the front of the auditorium.
Okay, he hasn't been single his whole life. There was that short time during preschool when he was engaged to a girl named Angie. It wasn't meant to be. By the way, the "meant to be" mentality was sort of touched upon.
There were a lot of really good and really tough questions that were asked. The Single Guy felt a little out of his element. Not because he felt uncomfortable answering questions about being single. But he has little to no experience being in a relationship of his own. So he was a little afraid that his expertise would be called into question.
The night before the event, the Single Guy kind of had a bad dream about the whole thing. He envisioned himself sitting at a long table behind a microphone. He was answering questions intelligently and throwing in a handful of witty comments here and there. Things were going well. And then the audience participation began. A girl sitting in the front row stood up to address the panel. The Single Guy couldn't recognize her. She wasn't from his small group and he was fairly certain he'd never seen her at church before. Looking directly at the Single Guy, she accused him of being a fraud. She asked how he could possibly answer these questions when he's never been in a relationship. She asked how he could stand to sit there smugly in front of all those people when he's never even been beyond a second date. Then she called on her fellow audience members to revolt. They began launching rotten vegetables at the Single Guy. Thankfully, before the first tomato could strike his face, he woke up in a cold sweat. It had just been a dream.
The real life relationship panel went pretty well. At least, that's what he was told by the folks that ran the show. It's possible they were just being polite and sparing the Single Guy's feelings. But he's fairly certain these people wouldn't lie to him. As it turned out, he wasn't nearly as nervous as he thought he would be. Looking back, the whole event is kind of a blur for him. But it was fun. And he'd be more than happy to participate in a similar panel in the future.