Choosing to Reject Lonliness
Jesus was often seen with those people who had nobody to care about them. Lepers, tax collectors, the demon possessed, paralytics, and He even once engaged in a conversation with a woman in Samaria who had had five husbands. They did not all appear to be terribly lonely. After all, the lepers were in colonies with other lepers. The demoniac was so filled with demons that he was not conscious of the absence of others around him. Tax collectors had lots of dinners, parties, and entertaining. With all those people around, who could possibly be lonely?
Just because a person is surrounded by people does not mean that their lives are meaningful, and they do not experience the feeling of isolation. Loneliness is not measured by what is taking place in one’s surroundings. Rather, it is the ache deep in a person’s heart and soul that every relationship that they have is shallow. All the faces that surround them daily are just people that work the same hours/place that they do. At the parties, they eat and drink what is offered, spend lots of time in small talk, some seek to impress the listener with how important they are with their boasting, and others act somewhat aloof to give the air that they are far too important to talk to the commoner seeking their attention for only a moment.
One would be led to believe that in this marvelous age of social media that no one is truly lonely. That would be a false assumption. Although one’s phone may indicate that the owner has scores of friends, those are just the curious seeing how much they can get to know without having to reveal their identity. And, we all know that what is posted is truly just “an ordinary day in the life of” whoever. There is “no attempt to embellish or exaggerate” to cause the reader to experience just a little covetousness at what the one posting is getting to experience. Right???
The sorrow for some is that their loneliness is so deep and so painful, they will finally try anything to seek someone to listen. That is why there are random “whoever reads this, please like this post”. Or the person who pays a counselor to listen so at least for an hour, somebody cares. We were made for companionship. When we forfeit our fears and apprehensions about letting others into our lives, we discover the marvelous joy found in abandoning loneliness to grasp the genuine concern of a friend.
Monty Roberts’ work with horses inspired the movie called The Horse Whisperer. And during a 60 Minutes episode, Monty Roberts taught the world the secret of his horse whispering. It involves his getting into the corral with the untamed mustangs and staying as far away from the animal as possible, without leaving the enclosure. He also refuses to allow any eye contact between him and the horse. By moving slowly, but surely, away from the horse, and by keeping his eyes averted from the animal’s gaze, Monty slowly draws the horse to himself. Even though the beast is pounding the earth with his foot, and snorting and circling with great speed, Monty keeps steadily moving away from the horse. He won’t look at it. He won’t approach it. As astounding as it sounds, Monty can have a wild mustang saddled and carrying a rider quite happily in a short time. When asked about his secret, he says, “The animals need to be with others so much, they would rather befriend the enemy than be left alone.”
(Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Hendrickson, 2003, p. 98; www.PreachingToday.com)