Loneliness ... The Sad Affair
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."1
Ron Clarke of Tasmania shared how "one of England's great poets, Rupert Brooke, who died in 1915, wrote the following note: 'I felt a trifle lonely before I left Liverpool; everybody seemed to have people to see them off. So I went back on shore and found a dirty little boy who was unoccupied who said his name was William. ”Will you wave to me if I give you sixpence, William?” I said. ”Why, yes,” said William. So I gave him sixpence and went on board. When the time came he leaned over the railing on the landing stage and waved. So I got my six-pennyworth and my farewell—thanks to William.'"
How very sad. Karen and Richard Carpenter in one of their popular songs some time ago sang with deep meaning, "Loneliness, it's such a sad affair … and I can hardly wait to be with you again." How true these words were for Karen who starved herself to death because of her own loneliness and the feeling of not being loved. Being popular and in the limelight can never compensate for the need for close, loving relationships. I believe it was Janis Joplin, another popular vocalist of another day, who said that the only time she felt okay was when she was on stage. The rest of the time she suffered from deep loneliness. She, too, took her own life with an overdose of Heroin in 1970. Even though "her career lasted only a few years, she has been hailed as the greatest white female blues singer who ever lived."
Think, too, of the elderly whose friends have passed on—the divorced, those never married, widows and widowers, numerous children, teens, and their parents living in unhappy homes, spouses who are abused and have nowhere to turn for help, military personnel and their families separated at times of war … the homeless—the list of lonely people is endless. Loneliness is indeed a plague of modern society. It is a very sad affair.
The fact is we were created for relationships and while it may not be the most desirable, we can live without romantic love, but we cannot live healthily without close, loving relationships with at least one trustworthy friend. God Himself is in relationship within the Holy Trinity. And think of Jesus; one of the first things He did when He commenced His ministry was to choose the twelve apostles "that they might be with Him." And while He never married, He certainly had close friendships with Lazarus and His sisters Mary and Martha. If Jesus needed close friends, how much more do we? To truly "be" is to be in relationship.
Perhaps the most pathetic loneliness of all is to feel separated and isolated from God. An unthinkable way to end one's life.
For many of life's problems there are no simple, quick-fix answers. One way, at least for some, is to find a Christian church where the people welcome strangers and reach out to the lonely—and where you can find God.* It can take a while to gain a sense of belonging, but I encourage you to hang in, and especially to join a small and accepting group. In countries where the Christian church is forbidden, some find companionship in an "underground" church. All of these people surely need our prayers.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I thank You that You have created mankind for relationships and today I especially pray for the lonely who are everywhere. Please help me to be an encourager and supporter of at least one lonely person or family and please lead all of our churches to do likewise. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
*NOTE: To help you find God be sure to read the article at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian. Read also “Overcoming Loneliness” at:: http://tinyurl.com/3bg5xy.
1. James 1:27 (NIV).