Sunday, December 10, 2006
Loneliness at This Time of Year
Yesterday, I spent part of the day with my oldest friend from Marin and her aging father who's just been put in a nursing home here. Over and over again, he complained bitterly to us of his loneliness and isolation, describing his condition as being in "lock up." A retired doctor, he's used to lots going on around him, beloved by family, friends and patients for decades and decades. He has lived a good life by worldly standards.
But today, he is lonely beyond consolation, and having a very hard time finding a reason to live. Some of his behavior in recent months has been appalling. The lonelier he's felt the more drastic have been his attempts to escape into a quick fix.
It is a reality that we see around us everywhere at every age. We experience it in ourselves and see it in others. Loneliness can be a deafening part of life, and unimaginably intense especially as the days get shorter and shorter. We all try to take quick fixes out of the morass of loneliness and often these short-term solutions only end up digging us deeper and deeper into the hole in the long run.
Currently, Dr. David Jeremiah at Oneplace.com is giving a series on loneliness here, and how many of the great men and women of the Bible have suffered its shattering, seemingly never-ending depths. Jesus experienced and took it for all mankind while he was dying on the Cross.
It is by not avoiding loneliness that we often come through to the other side. Rather by embracing it in stillness and surrender, God often meets us in the depths of our despair and darkness. Sometimes just getting down on our knees and telling God of our agonizing loneliness is the beginning of inner comfort and renewal beyond compare whivh slowly, quietly begins to creep back into our lives.
A prayer for those earnestly searching for Truth.
Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might come to know You in a living way and not just through another dead religion. Grant that I be undaunted by the cost of following you, as I consider reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me and open me to the living and hopeful reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life you promise. Amen.
(Thanks to Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, for this prayer.)