At that point, her stomach growled and she mentally agreed, “Yep, I know, it’s past time to get something to eat.” Looking for a quick and easy something that she could call a meal, she was soon sitting at her kitchen bar with a green salad and a sandwich in front of her, holding a book in one hand while she ate. A nightly routine in her little world.
Most evenings this loner lifestyle fit her to a T. But some nights it would hit her, “It’s Friday evening, I’m sitting here reading a book and eating all alone – again.” Sadness and isolation would suddenly cloak her and she would feel an enormous welling up of loneliness inside. A loneliness that made her thoughts dwell on all the people outside of her front door who were with others, talking and laughing while they headed to a movie or a restaurant. Just enjoying life together.
The blackness of her mood began to mirror the darkness outside. She felt alone, forgotten, ostracized and totally insignificant. Finally, desperation caused her to consider picking up her phone– just to hear a voice to break up this downward spiral that was sending her into an emotional quagmire. But then, “Who can I call? I really am not close to anyone. Sure, I have my sisters, but there is no doubt they’re all busy with their own families. And people from work? I don’t know any of them on a personal basis.”
She then thought of people she saw at her church, but that caused pain immediately. After all, everyone one she knew there were basically only ‘pew buddies,’ giving and getting a brief greeting as they settled in to their seats before the service began. No personal interaction ever happened before or after, she usually just smiled her way back to her car.
Sound familiar? Many people today are living emotionally all alone, even while surrounded by people. And that works for them, most of the time. But once in a while, the loneliness catches up with them, and they realize they need others. But the learned ability to socially connect with others has been lost somewhere along the way.
If this is you, deliberately stop the flow of your life. You and you alone can change this loneliness. Risk doing something a little different. Open up, and ask questions, don’t just smile and walk away. Invite someone to get coffee or a meal with you. Eventually, you will probably stumble across someone who is lonely and needing someone also. Because you are definitely not alone in your aloneness, it is a plague everywhere.
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