God created us for community; belonging to Him and one another. Never, never lose your voice...speak from your heart to others that know you matter and to God Himself. To live and thrive, this dialogue is vital.
James L. Lynch, scientist and researcher, has written two books on the deadly effect of loneliness: The Broken heart: (the medical consequences of Loneliness Life Stress and Essential Hypertension) and Cry Unheard: New Insights into the Medical Consequences of Loneliness.
According to Lynch there has been a veritable explosion in knowledge about the connections between social support and health, as well as an increased understanding of the links between human loneliness and the vulnerability to disease and premature death.
Lynch has come to one inescapable conclusion: Dialogue is the exlixir of life and chronic loneliness its lethal poison.
Our culture in America does not encourage physical closeness and face to face dialogue. Lynch is dogmatic in his concerns, "forces that disturb, disrupt, and destroy human dialogue must be viewed with the same concern and alarm as has been brought to bear on other plagues, infectious diseases, viruses, bacteria and cancers.
For all of the recent health data suggest that if current trends persist, and its resultant loneliness, will equal communicable disease as a leading cause of premature death in all post-industrialized nations during the twenty-first century.
A wide variety of statistics suggest that large numbers of people fail to recognize the dangers, that they are unable to fully appreciate the potent health benefits derived from various forms of social support, including that provided by family, friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
Health experts inform us that "excess" mortality has more to do wih social isolation and loneliness than it does with economic stress.
All of these situations share in the absence, the breakdown, or the failure of human dialogue, reflecting an increased struggle with a recently understood hidden type of "communicative disease" that exacerbates social isolation and loneliness. The resultant physiological stress can be unbearable, and even break the human heart.
It is, to say the least, a sobering and humbling perspective; certainly one that gives language a far richer and more awesome potential .
Can loneliness really kill you?
For it is dialogue that offers the hope of uniting us, not only with one another, but with the rest of the living world. It is dialogue that unites, and dialogue that ends our separation and isolation.
Dialogue unites — dialogue abolished the "I" of separateness. Dialogue is the vehicle that takes us back towards the paradise of union with others. It is dialogue, real dialogue, which fuels our journey through life.
Loneliness is different from being alone. At times, everyone needs to be alone (like having time with God and away from the busyness of this world).
· Is a feeling of isolation
· Is a deep feeling of being disconnected from others
· Causes a person to feel alienated
· Happens when there’s no one to share joys and disappointments with
· Can result in an overwhelming feeling of sadness and imprisonment
· May bring about despondency when left unchecked
We weren’t created for loneliness. God made us in His image. And that means relational. Obviously, this goes beyond marriage. God provides people to be friends and confidants, too! But remember, turn to God first. Friends will let you down. He won’t.
The world’s greatest tragedy is unwantedness; the world’s greatest disease is loneliness.—MOTHER TERESA
Human beings need both vertical intimacy (with God) and horizontal intimacy (with people) in order to be fulfilled. Without those relationships, they are vulnerable to the complex set of emotions described as "loneliness."—MIRIAM STARK PARENT
Your loneliness can be healed.
- Attend church (Hebrews 10:25)
- Be a friend to someone else (Proverbs 18:24),
- Listen to Christian music
- Ask God to work in and through these things to take away the lonely feelings.
Read Jeremiah’s prayer journal. Look into the life of an intensely lonely man. Pages of anger, resentment, and self-loathing jostle with praise and confidence. Jeremiah fought to communicate with God! He knew he wasn’t completely alone. The intensity of his feelings never overshadowed the deeper reality of God’s presence. As overwhelming as his gripes and challenges were, he found comfort in having Someone to listen to his complaints.
As I have shared with you on this blog, I am a recent widow. Since I helped my mom and mother-in-law with their widow season; I have been aware of my danger of loneliness and isolation. "When alone facing the greatest challenges of life, the Spirit of God within you will shape and draw you out to live for Him. " I don't know the author, but I found this wisdom has been a comfort and a reality for me.
But I am calling out to my friends and family. I push myself beyond my comfort zone to have meals with them and have dialogue and hugs. My formal college emphasis was in chemistry and biology. I worked in surgical research for a few years. My husband was a physician for over 40 years. So this week's posts are my scientific search to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually in this new "widow land."
I've been tempted to crawl into "isolation" and safe places before I landed in widow land. I believe it is a tempation of everyone at some point in their lives. For Christians, I believe it is a temptation to divide the church. With email and cell phone text messaging we can delude ourselves into believing we have meaningful diaglogue and we endanger our lives with no meaningful face to face, heart felt dialogue.
I know this is a busy time of the year with businesses cranking back up after summer vacations. Children are back in school, but I hope some of you will write in about your thoughts on isolation and the need to get real in dialogue from your heart.