Ever wondered what it’d be like to be living alone on a small inaccessible island? Lighthouse keepers are not the only ones who do – there are many who either choose to be alone or who find themselves alone through life circumstances. Unwanted singleness, bereavement, friendship breakdown, loss of sight, hearing or capacity and loneliness can descend like a dark dense brooding cloud. Joan Collins said that ‘loneliness is the universal problem of rich people’ yet surely it is the poor who are often short of friends.
- ‘Loneliness is the ultimate poverty’ – Pauline Phillips
- ‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty’ – Mother Teresa
- ‘I have my books and my poetry to protect me; I am shielded in my armour. Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries’ – Paul Simon’s poignant song to the lonely who build such thick walls that none can penetrate.
Is it not a modern paradox that loneliness is a prevailing problem in a world that has never been better connected? Obsessed by technology and social media, people ‘bristle’ with devices and notifications throughout the day but still feel cut-off and lonely.
- ‘We are living in dystopia, in a world that is dominated by technology and disconnect, alienation, loneliness, and dysfunction’ – Steve Wilson
- ‘Loneliness is defined as a feeling of being alone or lacking social connectedness affecting 46%’ – Douglas Nemecek, M.D., Cigna
- ‘Online communities are an expression of loneliness’ – Joanne Harris
There is something in the make-up of men and women which is designed for interaction, for community, for relationships where people matter to you and you know you matter to them. Without this, there is an unsatisfied yearning and inner pain that can outwork itself in anger as it works itself in to protective denial, escapism and more isolation.
- ‘I realize that I live on the bubble of insanity. I feel the weight of human suffering, loneliness and despair on me all the time. It's not getting easier; if anything, it's always right on the edge of my skin’ – Erwin McManus
- ‘We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness’ – Albert Schweitzer
- ‘Everybody has something that chews them up and, for me, that thing was always loneliness. The cinema has the power to make you not feel lonely, even when you are’ – Tom Hanks
- ‘Anger is a manifestation of a deeper issue and that, for me, is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness’ – Naomi Campbell
- ‘Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’ - Joss Whedon
Woody Allen’s humorous take on this is that ‘life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon!’ You can be lonely in a crowd, it’s even possible to be lonely in a church as others huddle in cliques and a sense of exclusion painfully cuts the soul.
- ‘I've definitely had the long stretches of time in my personal life where I've felt an intense loneliness and a desperation to feel something real and to have something that truly meant something in my life’ – Brett Gelman
- ‘Loneliness is, I think, people's biggest fear, whether they are conscious of it or not’ – Andrew Stanton
Karen Carpenter seemed to have everything and yet she was intensely lonely, brooding over it in her melancholic songs with lyrics such as, ‘Loneliness is such a sad affair’. For loneliness to be a widespread state of affairs for people who have mouths to talk, ears to listen, lips to smile, arms to embrace and minds to engage is tragic.
- ‘Loneliness is my least favourite thing about life. The thing that I'm most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me’ – Anne Hathaway
- ‘The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness’ – Norman Cousins ’
Some may bravely say they’re alone but not lonely yet the Lord God knew that it was better for Adam to have company! Then along came Eve and afterwards many more turned up! It certainly is not God’s plan that we would live cut off from him and from one another. Jesus Christ came to end this disconnection but it cost him dearly.
- ‘And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”’ – Mark 15:34
- ‘While the resurrection promises us a new and perfect life in the future, God loves us too much to leave us alone to contend with the pain, guilt and loneliness of our present life’ – Josh McDowell
- ‘We are all born alone and die alone. The loneliness is definitely part of the journey of life’ - Jenova Chen
Actually, there were others at our birth and there will be at our death. We all had not only a mother at our birth but God the Father watched our birth and longed for us to turn to him for spiritual birth and companionship which truly means we need never be lonely when alone. Even when we close our eyes in death, for the child of God there is no loneliness but the prospect of home-coming. The work of Christ is to connect us to God, that his Father would be ours too.
- ‘Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in’ – C S Lewis
- ‘The sinner who suddenly realizes God's love for him and then looks at his rejection of that love feels a loss similar to the death of a loved one. A deep void is created in the soul and a loneliness akin to the agony of death’ – Mother Angelica
If you are feeling lonely, take comfort from these Bible verses:
- ‘Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted’ – Psalm 25:16
- ‘God sets the lonely in families; he leads out the prisoners with singing’ – Psalm 68:6
- ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ – Luke 5:16
- ‘Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you’ – Psalm 9:10
- ‘When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you’ – John 14:18
If you are not feeling lonely, be thankful and look out for someone who is suffering some kind of loneliness – you may just be the one God sends to comfort them. God calls us to comfort others with the comfort we have received – this is part of loving him as we show his love to others.
TAGS – lonely, loneliness, trust, relationships, friendship, despair