One doesn’t have to be the loneliest number
Sitting down to this blog I am reminded of two songs from my youth, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles and “One is the Loneliest Number” by Three Dog Night.
Both songs sing about loneliness. One song addresses the loneliness of being in an audience. It is a relief to be in a group of people being entertained. The other unashamedly points out the difficulty of existing in a state of one.
“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one. No is the saddest experience you’ll ever know…”
Loneliness. I have felt it in crowds, in small groups, even where two of us are together but not connected or intimate with each other. Loneliness, whether a result of life’s normal course or a rejection is a “hard row to hoe. “
So what’s the remedy for loneliness?
Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll share some experiences I’ve had, how I pressed through solitude and its grip on my emotional health.
As a child, when I found myself one new kid on the playground surrounded by groups of happy and industrious children, I felt no shame. I simply pushed into circles of children, invited or not. It didn’t take long to grow up and become socially aware. You just don’t do that- push yourself, uninvited, into social circles. I learned how to look totally content and uninterested while sitting all alone.
Fast forward to the life of one in the middle of a neighborhood.
What’s a lonely wife to do when her husband walks out the door and goes to work?
I looked for work. Most of the time I sat at home waiting for the phone call.
I cleaned house. Most of the time it didn’t need cleaning. After all only two of us lived in a tiny apartment.
I planned, shopped for, and cooked meals. That didn’t take up most of my time.
I also felt God’s nudge. “Sit with me.”
Remedy #1 for loneliness. Become intimately acquainted with the Father:
I began to read my Bible, to become better acquainted with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. In Genesis I learned that God existed from before the beginning, that He is Cretor and Creative. Reading about all the various animals I realized God has a delightfully fun side. He loves beauty and is generous. I wanted to learn more about Him. I read on.
In the gospels I read the stories of Jesus. One year I spent reading the gospels over and over again. Toward the end of Jesus’ life He talked about the fact that He would not leave his friends alone, that He would send a comforter and an counselor to guide them.
I did a word search and study using my concordance, looking up all the verses about the Holy Spirit.
I bought a journal and wrote verses that intrigued me. I talked with God about His Word. I found an inviting spot in my home where I could sit with God, my Bible, my coffee or tea. I often chose inspiring music to listen to. Soon I found myself spending entire mornings with God, learning about Him, His world, His plan.
I’ve also stepped into Christian Book Stores to check out their resources. Often I left with a study guide that covered a particular book of the Bible or a certain spiritual topic. I look back on those days which came intermittently in my life, due to random moves, and am thankful for the personal retreats and spiritual growth I experienced during those times of loneliness.
While in bookstores my eyes were opened to the plethora of literature available to Christians. Reading Christian fiction, how to and self help books supplemented the education I already had.
Today we have a wide access to on line help. I encourage you to visit the Proverbs 31 online store. Every book offered is rich with truth and guidance for a fulfilling life.
Believe it or not I reflect on those days when loneliness had such a grip on me I thought I would sink into depression, and I feel a special warmth and comfort. I thank God for taking hold of me, turning my eyes on Him and opening up a world of good reading. I saw loneliness as a sentence to punish me. God used it as a retreat to strengthen me.
One doesn’t have to be lonely because one can always invite God into the mix and then there are two!