It’s February. Since last week was tough for some of my single readers (it being their favorite holiday and all), I decided to cheer them up with this post entitled: World’s Coolest Single People in History.
Not sure why some single people are told that married people have the monopoly on health, happiness, and productivity. (Except that, wait, I just did a fact check, and blast, they actually do, according to a ton of research.) But, singles, you can’t let that get you down. You’ll just have to take more vitamins or schedule another massage. Something!
One thing is true though. You don’t HAVE to be married to be a productive member of society. Historically, some of the world’s top artists, musicians, scientists, writers, and missionaries were single. Who would have thought that these charismatic and prolific individuals were indeed single! I write this post so that you can remember that, no matter your relationship status, you too might just be on your way to being AWESOME.
I give you: World’s Coolest Single People in History
Jesus Christ (2 B.C. – 33 A.D.)
Who he was: Galilean Jewish rabbi who was crucified by Romans (also known as the Son of God)
What he did: Condemned religious hypocrisy, loved his enemies, and died as an atoning sacrifice for my sins and yours.
Thoughts on family: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Apostle Paul (A.D. 5 – A.D. 67)
Who he was: ex-terrorist who converted to Christianity
What he did: taught the Gospel of Christ to the first-century world, founded churches, wrote parts of the New Testament
Thoughts on singleness: “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Who he was: exceedingly prolific Italian with expertise spanning multiple fields, including invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography (just to name only a few)
What he did: painted two of the world’s most famous paintings: the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper and came to be known as one of the most diversely talented individuals that ever lived
Thoughts on singleness: “Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.”
Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
Who he was: English physicist and mathematician
What he did: discovered ALL THE SCIENCE, so much so that modern scientists consider Newton to have made the greatest contribution to science, even more than Albert Einstein! His contributions include those in mechanics, optics, calculus, and the laws of motion and universal gravitation. Not bad, not bad!
Thoughts on singleness: Voltaire said of Newton: “he was never sensible to any passion, was not subject to the common frailties of mankind, nor had any commerce with women—a circumstance which was assured me by the physician and surgeon who attended him in his last moments.”
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Who he was: English Christian minister, hymnwriter, theologian, and logician
What he did: As a young person, Watts became disturbed by the Anglican church’s hymn tradition which often featured absurd rhymes such as the following: “Ye monsters of the deep / Your Maker’s praises spout; / Up from the sands ye codlings, peep / And wag your tails about.” Finding it strange to sing about wagging fish tails on a Sunday morning, Watts began writing his own religious poetry and hymns, and his prolific career yielded over 700 hymns. Watts became known as the “Father of English Hymnody.”
Thoughts on Watt’s singleness: Short in stature and also ill in health, Watts exchanged correspondence with an admirer of his verses before meeting her in person and finally proposing. Upon first sight, Elizabeth Singer declined, saying that “while she loved the jewel (his excellent mind), she could not admire the casket that contained it.” (Harsh, Lizzie!) Watts never married her but stayed friends with her for some thirty years.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Who he was: German composer who lived in London and became well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos
What he did: composed British coronation music and the Messiah and became one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era
Thoughts on singleness: When King George asked why he wasn’t married: “I have no time for anything but music.”
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Who she was: She was an American poet and also world’s most famous introvert.
What she did: A very private person, she spent most of her later life in her bedroom, clothed in white, writing poetry. Though unpublished in life, her poetry pleases through its unconvention—its lack of titles, punctuation, and proper capitalization.
Thoughts on singleness: “Remember if you marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance, will neither last nor please thee one year: and when thou hast it, it will be to thee of no price at all.”
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
Who she was: Irish missionary to India
What she did: Her life’s work was rescuing temple prostitutes, which she strove to do despite serious health conditions which left her bed-ridden for the last 20 years of her life. A prolific writer, she also finished over 35 books.
Thoughts on lifestyle: “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is.”
Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)
Who she was: British missionary to China
What she did: worked alongside the Chinese government to enforce foot-binding bans, started an orphanage, advocated for Chinese prison reform
Thoughts on singleness: Elizabeth Elliot tells of a conversation with Aylward: “she had been a missionary in China for six or seven years before she ever thought of wanting a husband. When a British couple came to work near her, she began to watch the wonderful thing they had in marriage, and to desire it for herself. Being a woman of prayer she prayed–a straightforward request that God would call a man from England, send him straight out to China, and have him propose. She leaned toward me on the sofa on which we were sitting, her black eyes snapping, her bony little forefinger jabbing at my face. ‘Elisabeth,’ she said, ‘I believe God answers prayer! He called him.’ Then, in a whisper of keen intensity, ‘but he never came.’” (So I wonder if that guy kinda feels bad.)
Mother Theresa (1910-1997)
Who she was: Albanian Roman Catholic missionary to the poor in India
What she did: founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order, whose members vow to chastity, poverty, and obedience. Present in 133 countries, the Missionaries of Charity provide hospice care, clinics, orphanages, and schools for “the poorest of the poor.”
Thoughts on lifestyle: “Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”
Harper Lee (1926-2016)
Who she was: American novelist
What she did: won the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (which she wrote, by the way, after some dear friends sent her a check for a year’s worth of wages with this note: “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.”) (I kind of want to be friends with Harper’s friends.)
Thoughts on singleness: “I shall never marry, Atticus.” “Why?” “I might have children.”
One other great lifestyle quote from Lee is in an essay entitled “Love – In Other Words” which she wrote for Vogue in 1961.
“…Man’s capacity to love is measured by his degree of freedom from the drives that turn inward upon him. As one holds down a cork to the bottom of a stream, so may love be imprisoned by self: remove self, and love rises to the surface of man’s being.”
So just in case you feel like you need to be married to live a life of fulfilled service and productivity, think again! There you have it: world’s coolest single people in history! Now my dear single readers, you can go back to whatever it was you were doing: becoming awesome.
Thanks, da Vinci.
And, readers, you’re welcome.