Brenda’s Blog – November 17, 2015
“Do you ever get lonely?”
My sweet daughter-in-law’s question was lovingly and tentatively asked. She didn’t want to intrude, but she wanted to check on me.
“Of course, I do.”
How would you answer that question? Probably in the affirmative, for loneliness is part of the human condition. The real question is: “What do you do when you get lonely?” or “When do you feel loneliest?”
A sociological study titled “The Lonely Crowd” spoke to us of human disconnection. I spent two days this week on a college campus celebrating the opening of the Bob Briner School of Business. The speakers excellently and pointedly addressed the students on leadership, character, and even job seeking skills. No matter what the topic, each one addressed the issue of virtual friendships and the need for true human interaction.
We can’t be fully human if the majority of our relationships begin and end on an electronic device. Eye contact becomes “I” contact. Warm greetings and handshakes are traded for emoticons and abbreviations.
USA Today featured an article on prisoners who are held in solitary confinement and the outcome of their lives after release. Of nine studied, all nine returned to prison. Extended solitary existence doesn’t mesh well with communal communication.
But we can be in a shoulder-to-shoulder room, flanked by laughing people and broad smiles, yet still be lonely. We need connection to quell those pockets of longing. How do we do that?
When you are in a strange environment, do you think about your own comfort, or seek to alleviate the anxiety of someone else you notice? What words do you prepare to initiate conversations? What heart and mind sets are established before you enter into these situations?
Yes, precious daughter-in-law I get lonely… I get scared… I get eager to run away, but when I accept my role as a transmitter of God’s grace to others, it gets easier. When I “turn my eyes on Jesus,” the pangs subside… some. There will always be times when the desire to feel fully accepted, included, and integrated will rise up. But when I think of those who need a word of encouragement, a hug, or just a smile, I understand how my loneliness can be converted into loveliness.