Thursday, June 9, 2011

ON LONELINESS


It's so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.
Loneliness is an epidemic in our culture.  I believe that the growth of "social media" (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is a direct result of rampant loneliness.  People have a basic need to feel wanted, to feel important, to feel like they are important to someone. Loneliness is not harmful because the person is by herself; loneliness incorporates so much more, including feelings of abandonment, of being unneeded, and, at its root, unloved.  The effects of loneliness are dramatic including serious depression and even suicide.

As a single, I experience this emotion periodically.  That feeling of dread is an unspeakable evil. Singles are not alone (pun intended) in their struggle with loneliness.  Other groups who struggle with loneliness are the elderly, the sick, and, even, the famous or the very successful. It is also a major source of trauma for pastors, who feel isolated with no one to that truly is their friend.

As mentioned above, social media is effective in combating loneliness – to a point.  As today’s C.S. Lewis quote reminds us, there is no substitute for “face time”.

I am not writing this post to the lonely person.  You know what you need to do.  Sometimes we each have to force ourselves to interact with people.  You know that, but sometimes your depression holds you back.

No, the real purpose of this post is that each of us knows someone who is lonely.  Reach out today and spend some time with them.  By doing so you will make a much bigger difference in their life than if you said a prayer for them (am I allowed to say that? Lightening hasn’t struck yet).  They need to know that you love them and need them.

The ironic thing is that I was going to write a prayer for those who are lonely.  I think a better idea is that I go call a friend…

2 comments:

  1. Sorry it took me so long to get here, Tim. . . but you make such an important point. We all need to reach out more - in a real way - with sincerity and genuine interest. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. No apology necessary, Andi. This post has really struck a chord with people. There are a lot of lonely people out there....

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