Once again, I’ve struggled to write in lucid terms, a tangible description of one of our TOP 10 Senor Concerns, LONELINESS. It’s definition falls short of the depths of despair a lonely sole feels. Loneliness isn’t being alone; of that I am certain. No, loneliness can, and often does, grip the heart of an individual in a crowded room.
While being “alone” can be a productive time, an introspective time a clarifying time, being lonely seldom if ever yields such benefits. The lonely person feels unattached to any external stimuli. They live in a vacuum of irrepressible emptiness. Theirs is often a desperate search, in a darkened fall, for a lifeline that seems just out of reach.
For seniors, it can be a state of heart and mind following the passing of a loved one. This is understandable. The invested years of two hearts becoming one cannot easily be separated without a deep, palpable heartache. It is understandable that such an individual may require time “alone” to reestablish themselves as a single person. It is to a healing end that they take time in solitude for healing. But loneliness is the state of mind that does not allow an individual to be reached.
The greatest challenge for the lonely individual to make the decision to push themselves back into the thick of life, re-engage with society, find needs outside of themselves, and become active once again. Words so easy to write, but actions heroic to accomplish. “Making the decision” is the key factor. Since loneliness is a state of heart and mind, a heart and mind change is required to alter the emotional spiral.
It is quite difficult to propose specific and proven steps to take to end loneliness. The reasons an individual feels lonely can vary. However, after making the decision to take action the first step is to put things in order. This might require assistance. If a loved one has past who was a dominant force in specific “logistics of living”, it might require assistance to sort those areas out and reconfigure them so that the one left can understand and manage them with ease. Every small step an individual takes in putting things in order are actually giant leaps in passing through loneliness into a sense of purpose and a life of meaning.
Volunteer work can be a tremendous means of identifying individuals who care about the same causes. An investment of time towards the benefit of others can, in itself, yield beneficial peace to the individual who volunteers.
Communication is vitally important. Perhaps taking a step back to an era where letter writing was an art can be a first step. Your life experiences can vitally important to grand-children, great-grandchildren and beyond. Write to them. Write to individuals yet to be born. Tell them about life, about your life. Give them a foundation to look back upon so that they more clearly see who they are. Tell them about the struggles but never forget to share with them the laughter! Doing so will allow you to relive your sustaining drive through life’s challenges and the blessings you have received.
Make connections with old acquaintances. Take the time to locate them – and once again, make the connection. It is advisable that the connection be in person or by telephone. Unreturned letters, emails or other social network tools can add to a sense of rejection. Plan to do something – and then do it! The key is to think beyond yourself into the lives of others.
In Everyday Health Louise Hawley, PhD and research associate in the psychology department of the University of Chicago writes:
“Explore your faith. There are only a few strategies that are proven to successfully protect against loneliness, and this is one of them. People who have a personal relationship with their God or a higher power tend to do well…faith can help you accept the things in life you can’t control.”
The Bible deals with the lost and loneliness of mankind:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will upload you with my righteous right hand.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Sun, but gave Him up for us all-how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? t is God Who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one! Christ Jesus who died-more than that, Who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or short? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US! For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor ANYTHING ELSE IN ALL CREATION, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In your loneliness, there is One Who is always present, Who always understands, Who always cares Who IS the life-line in darkness, ready to take your hand and lift you into life more abundant.
Loads of luv’n,