Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Lonely at Thanksgiving

“Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am lonely and afflicted.”

~Psalm 25:16 (NRSV).

One of the worst times to be alive is during grief or fatiguing loneliness at a time like Thanksgiving or Christmas—anytime there is much merriment and family fellowship, and it’s where we feel we just don’t belong.

Add to this non-obvious truth the more obvious truth of the many thousands of people who don’t have such access to familial love, and Thanksgiving and other typically joyous events are never lonelier.

Yet, whether we’re lonely in room full of loved ones or whether we have no loved ones to share it with, loneliness is the pits.

The Physiology of the Ghastly

Loneliness has about it a stringentness of thought—a clinginess of persistent negativity. It’s a stench within the thinking that appends itself and hardly leaves. This negativity is in one word, “vulnerable”.

When the ghastly sense of null love does flitter off for a moment of two, a laugh can be enjoyed, but soon reality returns, the actuality of unwanted seclusion.

It’s prevailing and ‘deafening’ thought, then, that steeples does the nemesis, for this lonely heart. And loneliness has nothing to do with being around people. Indeed, being around people will merely reinforce a lonely person’s sense of deriding isolation, of being hidden to themselves.

Spare a Thought...? – No, Do More

In many cases there is nothing more we can do for people than let them know we’re there for them. Certainly this is the case for someone grieving the loss of a loved one at a key family gathering.

It is too easy to be flippant and cliché about these things, disrespecting people in the process. Some people couldn’t see loneliness in others if it stood there and smacked them repeatedly between the eyes.

It is far better to, per Romans 12:15, “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (NRSV)

Don’t just spare a thought or whisper a fleetingly insincere prayer. Genuinely feel as they feel, even for a few moments. Then we’ll feel doubly blessed, for we do not have the burdens that some presently do.

There is always someone worse off... always.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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