When You Are One of the Lonely People

{By David Rupert}

Where do I belong in this world?

Opening day is when dreams of pennants run through every baseball fan’s mind. There’s anticipation in the air and hope runs through the city.

My buddy and I had tickets to the game where we had plans to escape from work and sit in the bleachers eating overpriced hot dogs and cheering the home team. At the last minute, he had a meeting at work and had to back out of our guy’s day out.

I put my backpack and coat in the now empty seat and readied myself for the festivities. Surrounded by 40,000 other fans, we cheered the unfurling of the flag, the soaring choir’s rendition of the National Anthem, the F-16 flyover and the ceremonial first pitch.

We were collectively caught up in the moment, but I suddenly I stopped, looked around, and realized how alone I was. I wasn’t connected to another soul in that big stadium.

This feeling, the stuttering realization that I am alone, comes at the oddest of times. Sometimes it happens to me when I’m at my busiest. I’ll rush to a meeting, scanning messages on my Blackberry, and furtively look around to see who else is with me in this pursuit. And I’ll duck into the bathroom and catch my eyes in the bathroom mirror. Tired. Empty.

Is this loneliness?

I shouldn’t be lonely. I have a family, a church, a group of friends that fill my time. But I can’t escape the feeling sometimes that my pursuits are empty and in vain. Does anyone care? Am I, in the end, alone?

There has never been a greater opportunity to be connected than this very age. It used to be loneliness was equated with isolation, so people were encouraged to connect with the world at large.

That excuse is gone. One out of three people on this big blue ball are Internet users. That’s more than 2.5 billion who are “connected” to the good, the bad, and the ugly of the World Wide Web. The worlds’ largest social networks boast 5.7 billion user profiles. Facebook alone has 1.4 billion users.

We can talk, chat, and view people from all over the planet with a simple click of a mouse or push of a button. We have the ability to gain data and information on virtually any question. Going to a sporting event with 40000 other fans doesn’t mean I’m connected to them beyond cheering at crucial moments. Although I share the experience of standing in line at the concession stand or the restroom doesn’t mean we of one mind.

Just because I have several hundred Facebook friends, doesn’t mean my need for intimacy and connection is met. I am beginning to think that social networks are actually social inhibitors. Just because I can “friend” someone, doesn’t actually connect me.

We are a lonely people. Thomas Wolfe said that “loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.” It surrounds our thoughts. Loneliness robs our passion. It strangles our hearts.

Secular society does all it can to silence the supernatural. The only substitute is an eerie quiet as we are alone with our empty heartbeats. Left with nothing but machines and computers and inventions, we are isolated and empty creatures. While evenings were once filled with visiting family and friends, they are now filled with parents and their children tapping out directions in front of computer screens, exchanging emails, syncing our devices, and chatting with strangers.

We fill the void with casual relationships. We run from pleasure to pleasure, looking for ‘soulmates’ and acquaintances. Rarely do we find a true friend that we can cry with or share our deep needs. Those that do allow a sliver of light quickly shut the door when we ‘get personal.’

Our lack of intimacy causes us to try to fill the void with work and pursuits. We work long hours for recognition that never comes. We drop in our beds exhausted — and lonely.

For the millions who continue to wander around the abyss, cut from any sense of meaning, God still waits and beckons. There is an answer to my loneliness, but sometimes I choose isolation over God.

In our heart of hearts, we do not want to be left alone, without a God. Martin Luther simply stated “Bless us, O. Lord, yea, even curse us — but please be not silent.” We desperately need the strength of an infinite God who knows us better than we know ourselves.

The Beatles sang the song “Eleanor Rigby” a generation ago. It’s now more than a simple song, Eleanor has morphed into a picture of modern society. The song was insightful into human nature, yet provided no solutions.   “Where do they all belong?”

Here we are, outside the city gates, where we may be lonely but we still a Friend. He is a friend to the friendless, a companion to the solitary, a strong hand to the weak.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you”, Psalm 55.22

::photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc::
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David2David Rupert on any given weekend can be found wandering the Rockies, fly-rod in hand, and trying to figure it out. He may be a communications professional and writer for a government organization by day, but by night, he’s taking seriously the call to encourage the Body. Spurring another to share their gifts, is a passion of his. He especially points to Christ’s words on his blog called Red Letter Believers and continues to reach others through his many publications in magazine articles. While he has his hands full, he is also the community editor at The High Calling, and adding to the list, his new book set to release in June 2014 is called  Disconnected: How to Turn Around Every Broken Relationship.  While yet another book, Make a Difference: Growth in Leadership, and many more writings by him can be found here as he continues to seek out more ways to encourage others.

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Also, here is a FREE eBook offering we made for you {<—-click to read more}.

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9 Comments on “When You Are One of the Lonely People

  1. God has reminded me over and over again during this time without my husband home how I am never alone . . . He is always with me. Beautiful post. Blessings.

    • Prayers for you during this time alone. Our loneliness isnt determined by the number of people around us, but by the satisfication we have in our Lord and the life he has given us. Nurture that.

  2. I’m a happy winner here!
    David, your words are raw and real. Sometimes I am certain that He creates that never-ending loneliness so that we will continue to turn to Him.
    But oh, how often we forget.

  3. David this is so poignant. Thank you for sharing honestly here. It’s so sweet to know we are not alone in our loneliness. Heart Hugs ❤

    • Never alone. And yet, the world is full of people who are without others. We just need to be reminded that our community isn’t built on the empty connections of the modern age, but the deep bonds that only Christ can give.

  4. I really get this, David. Seems like there is no escape for loneliness, but we do have a Friend even when we feel alone. A comforting verse to me when I really was rejected and alone is, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.” 2 Timothy 4:16, 17 I know those words are true, and Jesus never leaves our side.

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