I just read a recent article about how loneliness hits at different ages. I’m fortunate in that I’m far from 20, have passed 50 but still have the 80’s phase to wait out. The bigger picture is that I’m around both young and really old and it is clear that loneliness, depression and being alone is part of life that we must learn to face in a healthier fashion.
I know that holiday time, regardless of whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving and especially birthdays are tough. I lost my mom to cancer over 11 years ago. We share the same birthday so it’s always hard and on occasion even though I’m around family and lots of friends I still hurt and feel lonely on the inside and clearly miss my mom!
The decay of the family unit means that there are way too many struggling with working through a divorce or breakup where kids, pets and family are separated. Yes, it’s different cooking for one then for a family of 5! I recently listened to a friend who had recently gone through a divorce. I’m so proud of this friend in how they faced their circumstances and that of their spouse or now ex. The reality is that my friend will be healthier as they put their life together and let go of past hurt, confusion and heartache. I’m not one to promote divorce having just celebrated our 45thanniversary.
I know that it’s so easy to disappear and choose purposely to become a recluse or a hermit. I know that in today’s move to become more minimalistic that living in mini-houses makes it tough to from a spouse, friend or roommate. Yet, the stark reality is that we can be around a large group at a Christmas party but be and feel totally ALONE.
The last thing someone who is struggling with depression and being lonely want is someone telling them to jump into the fray. I know that it’s so easy to have a personal pity party and have that sad frown look happening. So, what happens as we enter into the most celebrated time of the year? Avoidance is one tack to take? Maybe going on a trip by yourself and playing tourist. The bigger challenge is actually choosing to do something, anything to make life better.
My friend who recently went through a divorce talked about joining a support group. I know the difficulty with facing a strange or new group is the obvious questions that come at you about what, why and how are you going to cope better. Make a choice to do little baby steps to see your emotional imbalance improve and take a risk in talking to a friend or even someone at the local coffee shop.
The bigger picture is that having a personal relationship with the Lord, means that regardless of what’s around you, people, place or circumstances will give you a sense of having a home and not being alone! I so much appreciate the image of Jesus being a shepherd that goes out of his way to look out for us, guide us and even discipline us at times is comforting.
Yes, all of us will struggle with who we are, regardless of age, where we are headed, whether we’re gainfully employed or retired and the choice to include others in our life, including God, so we never have to be alone.
Please don’t let your loneliness push you to the edge! Make a friend and give to someone that’s hurting. Life will get better!