A few years ago, I was in the Baylor library checking out a couple of books. The man checking me out was pleasant. He seemed to be paying close attention to the titles of the books I was checking out. I remember that one of the books dealt with friendship. He seemed to pay particular attention to that one. He startled me when to me (a total stranger) he said, "Ahhh Friendship. I could use some friends. I really don’t have any."
Many could echo his words. As one man said to me, several years ago, "I really don’t have any friends. That’s embarrassing to say as old as I am."
A lot of people know aching loneliness.
- The feeling that you are understood by no one.
- The sense you have that you are not really that important to those who say they are your friends.
- Overhearing others at church talk about their wonderful time last night at the restaurant. You weren’t invited.
- Sensing that you are seen as different, odd, out of step etc. by others your own age.
- Feeling as if you must bear your secrets alone. You don’t know who you could trust with something so delicate.
- Not having someone in your life with whom you don’t have to pretend.
I think this is big–very big. I think there are a lot of people who feel this way. No sense of community. No sense of walking through life with a friend. No sense of being known and loved anyway.
And–my sense is that it is not always obvious. It is possible to be surrounded by people and yet be very lonely. So what does a person do?
- Some go to bars, churches, sports events, etc. Anyplace to somehow connect.
- Some go to chat rooms on the Internet. Yes, you are talking with a total stranger but it feels intimate.
- Some may bump into another desperatly lonely person and begin an affair. Yet so often, when the affair is over, the loneliness may seem deeper and more intense.
I just wonder if God is openning doors for you and me to connect with someone who is very lonely. Would we/I respond?