Loneliness is such a terrible thing

“The Lord God said,  “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
- Genesis 2:18a

While attending college in 1976, I worked as a waiter at my family’s restaurant. In the restaurant one afternoon was an elderly gentleman at one table and an elderly man and his wife at another.

The man was sitting in the very last booth against the left wall facing the back of the restaurant. As the meal progressed the man started talking to himself. His body and face were turned to the wall with his left arm resting on the back of the booth as if his arm was around someone’s shoulder. He was not speaking loudly but he was engaged in his conversation with his imaginary companion. He seemed to be explaining things in great detail to this person. The restaurant was quiet so one couldn’t help but hear the man speaking to himself.

The elderly couple who were seated at the other side of the room had finished their meal and came to the register to pay their bill. The woman turned to look at the man at the back of the restaurant and whispered to me, "Is that man talking to himself?" I suppose she had never witnessed someone having a conversation with himself out loud.

I looked over at the man’s back and said, "Yes ma’am. He is."

The woman looked again at the man and then at me and said very sadly, "Loneliness is such a terrible thing" and they left.

It struck me how compassionate this woman was.  She was genuinely concerned for this man who seemed to have no one in his life to talk to. I had not really given it any mind at the time, but her notice did make me see that yes...it was a shame.

After awhile I went to the man and asked if I could get him anything else. He was a bit startled as I had interrupted his conversation and broken his concentration with his imagined companion.

The man looked at me for a second and said, "Oh, no thank you. Everything is fine.” I spoke to the man a bit more and could see him focusing on what I had to say, but my conversation was only restaurant talk, so it didn't last very long. The man finished his meal and with a cup of coffee, stayed a bit longer until he finally left.

I agreed with the woman, that yes…loneliness is a such a terrible thing.

So many things can happen that can leave us alone: changes in our relationships, loss of a loved one, retirement, people moving away, and even being too busy, can keep us from people. The world has made it easier for us to isolate ourselves and live without anyone. Besides TV, we have the internet, video games, and Facebook...everything to keep us occupied so we don't ever have to be in the same room with another person.

When I was younger it was easier to just ring people up and run around at the last minute. As I have gotten older, I have seen friendships change and fade as people become more involved in their routines and affairs. Though many of us have friends and loved ones involved with us, there are and will be times when we will be alone.

There are many GLBT people who are alone, some because they have not found the right person in their life and others because of our harsh, superficial culture that accepts only youth and beauty and doesn't have time for anyone else. Unfortunately, many of us do not have supportive families or much of a community of friends.

But really it is because ALL people…GLBT, straight or otherwise…are not very good at meeting and being friends with each other. ALL OF US are bad at loving one another. Our past hurts prevent us from getting too close to others and our society has taught us not to trust anyone.

Though many of us wish more people would befriend us, we are also to blame when we fail to extend ourselves to others and shrug off future friendships for whatever reasons. We want others to reach out to us, yet we don’t want to reach out to anyone. Everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move, but then no one ever moves.

The reality is...the world is a lonely place.

Jesus wants to change all of this.

Jesus asks us to love each other and treat others as we want to be treated. And even when relationships sour, Jesus asks us to forgive each other so our relationships will heal and continue.

Many Christians don't see that just by being friendly, greeting people, having a listening ear, giving a compliment, being consistent, making friends and investing in them, checking up on each other...are very simple ways we can honor God and share His positive love. It is a win-win way of life. Everyone is blessed!

God created us to need Him and need each other and His way of bringing us together is Jesus, who loves us and asks that we pass His love to all people who come our way. It is never too late to reach out.

Loneliness is a terrible thing, but God's love really is a wonderful thing!

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” – John 15: 12-14

©2011 Edrick

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