Are you missing your togetherness- comfort?
It's OK to admit we're feeling lonely.
As this covid compulsory lock-down continues, some of us are craving human contact.
Even our caring family members keep at arm's length when they drop of shopping. We crave human warmth and love. Especially those who are not technology-savvy, who don't have devices that can miraculously conjure up familiar faces and voices beamed into our homes even from a world away. We are social creatures, and this suddenly imposed 'social distancing' goes against everything we've grown up with. Even our wider Christian family shared hugs, handshakes and hongis on meeting every Sunday. My husband and I would frequently be welcomers at church, and made sure we were there before anyone else. "Hurry up, Rose. We're on widow-hugging today Dear," he would say.
It was not until I was widowed a decade ago, during the tragic Canterbury quakes, that I understood the importance of that role. I became one of those widows that lacked human caring, and a Christian hug brought comfort and healing. God willing, we will revert to that caring community that share their kindness with others, known and unknown. For some who have to live alone, their weekly visit to God's house is the highlight of their week. Those who welcome, reach out, greet and care for the lonely are all sharing their God-given light and warmth of human connection in such a vital way. So too are those who prepare cups of comfort, and clean up after the social interaction following services. This is the afterglow of the sermon message, the time of discussing challenges share their concerns, speak about the soul-lifting music and God-honouring prayers.
I'll share with you a true story about a poet whose work I admire; Rupert Brooke. Alone on the wharf, about to travel by boat from England to America, Brooke was feeling very lonely. Watching fellow passengers hugging and clinging to their loved ones, he longed for someone to miss him too.
He spoke to a ragmuffin boy on the wharf. "What's your name, boy?" he asked.
"I'm William, sir," he replied.
"would you like to earn some shillings?" enquired Brooke.
"Sure thing, what do you want me to do?" asked William eagerly.
"Just wave to me as I leave," the lonely Brooke replied.
Six silver shillings sealed the deal, and Brooke boarded the ship. Rupert Brooke later wrote about the occasion :
"Some people smiled, and some cried. Some waved white handkerchiefs and some waved straw hats. And I? I had William who waved at me with his red bandana ,for six shillings, and kept me from feeling completely alone"
We all feel loneliness at times, even in a crowd. Rupert Brooke was strong enough to admit his loneliness, and do something to help improve the situation. This is a necessary first step towards coping with loneliness. Simply admitting it and feeling free to share this aching void is the recognition that helps us to address it.
Life's experiences have shaped us, and we may never know all the traumas and struggles that others have faced in their lives. We can all ease their path, by reaching out to friends and families, especially those who are anxious. Sharing with compassion doesn't divide our love quotient; rather, in God's glorious mathematics, our love multiplies. Those whose 'cup of love runneth over' can share their richness with others who have no one else to share their emptiness.
Mother Terea described loneliness as "the biggest disease of our time. And the loneliest do not all reside in nursing homes, nor do they all live by themselves."
Are you feeling isolated and unfulfilled in this anxious time of pandemic? Try to reach out to someone else who you suspect is also lonely. Pick up a phone, or scribble a note to them. The bible tells us that it is "More blessed to give than to receive." So turn that ‘pity-party’ into a’ care and share party’, and feel the blessings flow.
And also remember, that we Christians are never alone. Each unique person is a precious part of God's worldwide family, and He is with us in our ' Bubbles', even if they seem to be solo bubbles.
In God's good time, our bubbles will burst, and then we'll see the glorious colour and joy of the Heavenly rainbows as we pick up our human magnets, and reach out to be God's arms and legs in our community .
Kia Kaha, Kiwis!