Selwyn now looks at the darkness of loneliness. He writes: “By loneliness I don’t mean ‘aloneness’. It must be understood at once that there is a great difference between ‘loneliness’ and ‘aloneness’; it is possible to be alone and yet, not lonely. … So what is loneliness? It is the feeling we get when when we are bereft of meaningful human companionship: it is a sense of isolation, of inner emptiness, deprivation and worthlessness.”
I don’t fully agree with Selwyn’s definition. As a follower of Jesus – I don’t have a sense of inner emptiness, deprivation and worthlessness – it’s His sacrificial love which gives me value, and fills me with His Spirit. However, there have been times when I’ve felt isolated – because of the lack of genuine, human companionship.
To make sure that I was on the same track as Selwyn, I’ve had a look at the issues he addresses, over the next few days, regarding this topic.
First off, it’s important to realise that there are a number of personality types. Some people are very gregarious, and have lots of friends – they feel comfortable and relax the most when they are with a group of friends. Other people are more introverted, like exploring ideas and being creative in solitary tasks – they may feel more comfortable with just a few, very close friends.
Just look at the mix of people that you encounter on social medium forums – like Facebook. Some people have hundreds of friends and spend a lot of time on these forums. While others have few friends and don’t update their status – all that much. The point is that there is a range of personality types.
I’ve found that I don’t need a lot of close friends to be contented. The times when this darkness has descended on me is when one of my close friends has died or they leave the area where I live and contact is significantly reduce because of the distance, which separates us.
A few years back, when two of my closest friends died; and at around the same time I retired from work and moved to a different location. This was the time I experienced a deep and painful loneliness.
Yet, it was also a time that when I cried out to my Lord for some comfort – He came close to me and I experienced His presence in a way that I had never felt before. Travelling through this period of darkness gave me the confidence to completely trust in Our Lord’s everlasting and dependable love. Since that time I’ve not felt the heaviness of loneliness.
Finally, some people are lonely because they choose to remain in that darkness. Friendship involves two people – if you make no effort to be a friend – if you seal yourself off and remain in your human fortress and never open the door to others, you will lose some of your skills to interact with others in a friendly manner. You will be lonely, and you will stay that way. Yet, even in these self-imposed times of isolation, God’s love can break in, and set you free – to be a friend! Ask Him, in prayer – to unlock the door for you.
The following piece of Scripture doesn’t have a direct link, with today’s topic. But, I’ve just read it, and I found them to be so great that I want to share them with you, my friend (Psalm 119:169-176 (NIV)).
” … May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, Lord, and your law gives me delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.”