Loneliness seems to be an epidemic of the modern age. Many say it is made worse by social media and perhaps this is so. The other reasons for this sad state of affairs are well-known; the dispersal of families, the mobility of practically everything. The competition of ‘oh so lovely’ options instead of visiting relations and friends, even the traffic jams all contribute to the concentration of a self centred society.
Yet, we are aware of loneliness, it has even been featured in broadcasts and press articles, but as individuals we either suffer from it or put it out of our minds. There are degrees of loneliness, there are people who don’t speak to another human being for days on end, there are those who grieve, those who are cast out, those who are ashamed because they have done wrong, those who are afraid, those who do not value themselves, those who are running away from things real and imaginary. All are lonely and loneliness is both depressing and excruciatingly sad.
If you have never grieved for someone really close, a child, a partner or a very close parent, if you have never spent a day on your own, gone to bed without a ‘good night’ or woken to the stillness of an empty place, then you will have little idea of what loneliness is. I am happy for you. I urge you, though, to look at those who are without friends or company. I want you to talk to the beggar, the man selling magazines on the street corner, the old lady next door, the friend whose dropped out. These are just a few of the people we all can help.
Don’t be afraid, I’m not asking you to give money, even shake their hands, all I’m asking you/us to do is to look and see loneliness and speak to it, to him or her. To start “Good day” is a start. Maybe then perhaps another word of the weather or the time of day or this and that. That’s all I ask of you and you and me.
If you are lonely I ask something else of you as well. Don’t be afraid to look into the eyes of others, strangers they may be but they could be, and maybe, friends if you let them. Don’t be afraid of greeting the Lord or the labourer, you never know who will smile back and start to help you live another brighter day. One day at a time and if you see us the ‘un-lonely’ don’t forget we’d like you to be amongst us.