Posted by: Diane | November 30, 2013

Loneliness

It was a busy morning in our small town.

Despite the cold weather, there were lots of bundled-up townsfolk sauntering up and down the main road, popping in and out of the stores and taking time to catch up on the weekly news with friends.

I was working this morning and I greeted an older woman with a warm, “Good Morning” as she came into the store.  She needed some help pushing her walker through the door so I ran over and took her arm. I noticed her sad eyes right away and as she grabbed my hand, she said, “So much bustling around town this morning. There are so many people to talk to but I still feel so lonely.”

Thankfully, there were  no other customers in the store at the time so I was able to get into a good conversation with this woman. She told me that her husband had recently died and that her kids all live too far away to come home. I was able to tell her about the owners of our store who put on a big Christmas dinner for everyone in our town who is going to be alone on Christmas Day. She was so happy to hear about this event.  Before she left the store, she hugged me and said, “I didn’t need to buy anything today – I just wanted to talk to someone.  I’ve watched you other times that I’ve been in this store and I know you care.”

This is the sad reality – at least in the Western world.  The Globe and Mail recently wrote a series of articles about loneliness and the author, Elisabeth Renzetti wrote, “In the West, we live faster, higher in the air, farther from our workplaces and more singly than at any time in the past. Social scientists will be struggling to understand the consequences of these transformations for decades to come, but one thing is clear: Loneliness is our baggage, a huge and largely unacknowledged cultural failing.”

According to the recent national census, “more Canadians than ever live alone and almost one quarter of them describe themselves as lonely.” Renzetti continues, “It is the great irony of our age that we have never been better connected or more adrift.”

loneliness

One interesting observation about loneliness is that no one talks about it. We are a society that has become both sensitive to and expressive about our health yet, very few people talk about their loneliness despite the fact that many studies link loneliness to depression, anxiety, interpersonal hostility, increased vulnerability to health problems and even to suicide.”

 There seems to be an element of shame attached to loneliness – as if there is something embarrassing in acknowledging our need for others. The truth is that we were not created to live out our days on this earth alone – we were created for community…we were created to relate to others. That’s why loneliness makes such a loud noise – it’s not the way God intended us to live.

Richness in life comes from relationships – with God and with others.

Aloneness can lead to loneliness. God’s preventative for loneliness is intimacy – meaningful, open, sharing relationships with one another. In Christ, we have to capacity for the fulfilling sense of belonging which comes from intimate fellowship with God and with other believers.    Neil T. Anderson                              


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