I was surprised that when I searched for a list of emotions on the ‘net, I found that there are different lists and the majority of these lists did not include loneliness as a prime emotion. The common prime emotions I found in lists, were: love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, and fear. Loneliness was seen by some, to be a secondary emotion that came out of a feeling of sadness due to ‘being alone’, caused by a range of circumstances, such as – friendlessness, isolation, rejection, grief, homesickness, insecurity, or alienation.
I think that our need to be loved or respected within our own community – are powerful needs, and results in equally powerful emotions, such as loneliness – when these needs are not met (or, perceived to be not met). Our personal isolation may even be more evident, when we are in a crowd. It’s not so much a lack of contact with other people – it’s more, a lack of relationship with other people whom we accept as having a reciprocal interest in our well-being.
The lonely person’s constant thought is – ‘who cares about me?’ A feeling of sadness then dominates their personality – when they chronically answer the former question – with the terrifying words – ‘No one!’ [As, the American band Three Dog Night, once sang – ‘One, is the loneliest number … ‘]
Selwyn, in today’s study, talks ‘about the fact that Jesus knew loneliness as no one has ever known it – before or since.’ He goes onto say:“Loneliness is the feeling of being bereft of human companionship, the sadness that comes through the loss of a loved one or the failure to find a close or loving friend. … Christians can walk with God, even have a rich relationship with Him, yet at times feel incredibly lonely.”
In Matthew 26:36-40 (NLT), we read about a special type of loneliness – those times when your friends fail to provide support, in your times of distress: “Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.
He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? … “
As Selwyn, mentioned in today’s study – all of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives – Jesus understands how you feel, take your loneliness to Him in prayer – He loves you, and He will embrace and comfort, your aching heart.