For those of you who are keeping up---this is two days in a row I have used a song title as my blog title. Am I on a roll of song titles? Probably not--merely a coincidence. "Only the lonely"--Roy Orbison's big hit from 1960 climbed all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Those of my generation are quick to turn our noses up at today's music and declare it has no meaning. Obviously there was some hidden meaning in the "Dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo wah; Ooh-yay-yay-yay-yeah; oh-oh-oh-oh-wah" repeated every verse in this big hit. I will say I still know the lyrics all these years later (not real complicated). Perhaps the message of the song was entirely in the "Only the lonely; only the lonely".
Loneliness ---sadness because one has no friends or company; the quality of being unfrequented and remote, isolation. (Webster) I have spent a great deal of time discussing loneliness with quite a few individuals. Here is my take away--everyone experiences it at some point. I cannot tell you how many have told me they have felt lonely with another human in the same room. This leads me to believe it is the inability to communicate as the root of loneliness.
I spend a great deal of time alone--well except for the Wonder Dog.
I find him rather short on conversation. Occasionally I find myself lonely---there is a big difference in being alone and being lonely. I stay busy and have projects going and take walks---I am engaged in living. The times I find myself lonely is usually in the quiet of the evening---especially on a weekend. The day is pretty much done, the projects are put away for the evening, the kitchen is clean and there is nothing on television worth viewing nor a good book to read. Those days, I go to bed early--knowing things will look better in the light of day--BRIGHT AND EARLY the next morning because I went to bed FAR TOO EARLY.
There are groups out there to help combat the loneliness which is rampant in our society. The ladies I meet with at The Well---they were lonely. I have watched them form community--care for each other--become friends. Oh we walk together, we have art classes, we have Bible Study and we play Bingo--but the key is--we are together. It has been all joy watching them knit together a community. They sometimes disagree, as we all do when we are together a lot, but at the end of the day--they love each other.
I also have become part of "The Men's Shed" here in Ruston. This group was originally formed to bring men together under a shared roof to work on wood projects together. They decided to let us women join and we have one morning a week when we have "She Shed" (surely you have seen the commercials for Sheryl's She Shed)
I will tell you another day what these talented ladies have taught me about wood work. YES, I still have all my fingers! The point behind the Men's Shed is building community-first and foremost--with a little wood work on the side.
We seem to have become isolated in our busy and fast paced world where the WWW has taken over communication. No longer do we sit on the front porch at the end of the day with friends and family to share the news of the day. Instead we are staring at some screen--alone. Much of our loneliness is self created. Some of our loneliness is due to a shrinking world which comes from either aging or busy lives while building careers and growing families. Why even today's church struggles to help us build community. Gone are the family night dinners ladies Missionary Society meetings, Men's breakfasts in most cases. Today's small groups struggle to help us build connections. We are all just too busy. It takes time---LOTS of time to build community. Somehow in our fast paced world of careers, organized children's sports, community committees, and even civic club lunch meetings, we have replaced those front porch evenings with the organized isolation of the board and committee tables. We have forgotten or maybe never knew the importance of community. We have become lonely--isolated--and remote--stranded on a deserted island of loneliness without a life boat in sight. Until we purposefully make a change--only the lonely will know the way we feel tonight. We cannot sit around and wait for someone to rescue us from our lonely world. We have to take a chance, dive in, and take the plunge. Community is waiting to be formed--but you have to take the first step.
O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.