Summary: This message concentrates on what happens when you are lonely and provides you with some practical steps in overcoming loneliness
What’s Wrong With Me?
The Question of Alienation
Dr. Marty Baker
Stevens Creek Community Church
A wave of despair is silently crashing over America. Floodlights pierce the night, announcing yet another home-video store. Supermarkets peddle single-serving foods and delivery services let you order your life to go - and hold the interaction please. The 900 numbers, some of which charge callers $25 to hear a soft voice, are proliferating, along with single parents, divorces, suicides, murders and drugs.
In the 1970s, the silent majority was conservative and hawkish. In the 1990s, the silent majority is lonely. Americans talk openly about AIDS but not of loneliness. Doctors say loneliness brings on other diseases and even can be fatal. The Gallup Poll says loneliness affects more than a third of the population,and psychologist say that figure is rising. Census figures indicate that the number of Americans living alone has tripled since 1960. But figures can be misleading. A person can be alone but not feel lonely or be in a crowd and feel like the last person on earth.
The experts on loneliness are not psychologist, census officials or poll analysts. They are people across America who are living with loneliness. From a crowded night club on Gordon Highway, to a neighborhood bar and grill on Washington Road; from a health club on Broad Street to a crowded mall on Wrightsboro Road; from a third shift job on an assembly line to a computer terminal in the Atrium; from a run down project in the inner city, to the well-manacured lawn in West Lake, Augusta can be a very lonely place. The migration of our city with Fort Gordon, the medical college, and SRS adds to the dilemma for it produces lonely people without roots.
Listen to our music and hear the lonely voices crying out:
Carole King: Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call, and I’ll be there.
Paul McCartney: All the lonely people, Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, Where do they belong?
Elvis Presley: Just take a little walk down lonely street to heartbreak hotel.
James Taylor: Do me wrong, Do me right. Tell me lies but hold me tight. Save your good-byes for the morning light. But don’t let me be lonely tonight.
Bonnie Rait: What can I do to get back to you. I’m feeling desperate and lonely.
What happens when you are lonely? You can cry like a rainstorm when you are lonely. Or you can be as dry and quiet as a desert. Men are like that. There are as many kinds of loneliness as there are color in a desert sunset.
Here are a few:
Spouses and lovers leave.
Spouses and lovers don’t leave. They get stuck in a cycle of fear and unhappiness.
A homeless person who hasn’t had a break in years wishes someone would care.
A soldier comes home from Vietnam and 20 years later suddenly wells up with paralyzing friend over his buddies, who died like slaughtered lambs.
A suburban mother who seems to have everything - nice house, nice kids, husband with a good job - cries and feels as if there is no one to talk to.
People judge success on how are your relationships with other people It is never asked what is your relationship with yourself. People should examine whether they are comfortable with themselves. Know thyself. I don’t mind my own company. Solitude is different that loneliness. I’m more likely to be lonely when surrounded by people I don’t know."
Loneliness strikes as many as one in three Americans today and, although most people claim to be happy with the friends they have, there is a strong undercurrent of discontent among nearly half the public who complain they either do not have enough time for friends, they want more friends or they’d like to have closer relationship with their friends.
A new Gallup Mirror of American survey shows that busy work and family schedules, geographic mobility and divorce are all stretching the bonds of friendship today. By far the loneliest American adults are those who are divorced, widowed or separated adults, and those who live alone or solely with children.
Loneliness, as we use the term today, means unwanted isolation ...... emotional isolation. It is a self-conscious isolation, a condition in which the lonely one is consciously aware that something important is painfully lacking in his life.
How Do We Deal with Our Loneliness?
Many times when we find ourselves lonely, we retreat to the past. Things are never as you remember them after the lapse of several years. You may reminisce about the past, but you can never recapture it. Try as you might to go back, to recreate old situations and reconstruct the old environment, you are doomed to disappointment.