...A monk is supposed to give up the idea of possessing anything, and, in this culture, that includes women. Ideally, in giving up the sexual pursuit of women, the male celibate learns to relate to them as human beings...I've seen young monks astonish an obese and homely college student by listening to her with as much interest and respect as to her conventionally pretty roommate. (The Cloister Walk)
Being single isn't easy. But particularly for a Christian young man who wants to exude the spirit of Christ in all his relationships. As I was reading a chapter in The Cloister Walk I was astonished by Norris's candid remarks on the differences between celibate monks and your average Joe. Monks come off as genuine, concerned, and interested whereas average Joes come off as seeking a goal, be it a long lasting monagamous relationship or more likely, sex.
You see, the thing is, its easy to be like the Average Joe. If you walk into a group of people, you most naturally are going to gravitate to the most engaging or attractive person and want to join their conversation or become a part of their group. It is more difficult to seek out the hurting, the emotionally needy, or those who don't seem quite as exotic.
My desire is to be more like the monks, who are easily approachable and refreshingly enjoyable no matter who engages them, or who they engage in conversation. I continuously try to make an effort to talk to everyone, no matter their appearance or popularity. Yet that isn't always easy, and it is something I have to continually battle everytime I am in a group of large people. However my natural inclinations feel amazingly transparent when I do try to talk to everyone.
The thing that is difficult about monks is that it appears that they have actually controlled their inner desires and stripped away the superficialities in their hearts and minds. That is a point I have yet to achieve, and something that will take a long time to arrive at. But it is a battle I want to win and one I will continually be actively engaged in. Tarry on!