Monday, December 22, 2008

Pondering Loneliness

I don’t want to be alone anymore.

I want to have lots of friends, close friends who care for me and love me. I want friends who call to check on me, give me unexpected gifts, show up at my door unannounced, and inspire me to live a better life. I want friends who I can call in the middle of the night when I am feeling blue and say, “Whatcha doin” even though I know they are sleeping…and they won’t care. I want friends who notice when I’m feeling sad and try to cheer me up. I want friends who will laugh with me. I want friends who will cry with me. I want friends who will let me show the same love and care for them, too.

However, I don’t have many friends like that. In my 50 years of life, I have had a few friends who meet the description above, emphasis on the word few. For those people, I am grateful. My life has been, and remains, blessed by these good friends.

When I graduated High School, I thought my friends would be there for me all of my life. Yet, over the years things change and the few become fewer still. Life has gotten faster, more disconnected. Job opportunities have drawn us away to distant locations. Children have grown up. We have gotten busier. The strange thing is communication technology in 2008 is far superior to the communication technology of 1977 (my graduation year). Still, somehow, we have become more disconnected than ever.

In the late 1960’s, I watched a movie on television titled My Side of the Mountain. It was about a boy that became angry with his parents and decided to runaway to live on his own. His adventures in the mountains sparked my imagination. He had animals for friends. He fished for his food. He even lived in a hollow tree. I loved the movie, and I thought I wanted to live that kind of life.

Those deeply embedded, childish feelings continued into my adult years, and I suppose even now there are times that living in the mountains on my own without any human contact seems like a great idea…except, I don’t want to be alone anymore.

Not long ago, I watched people coming into my store and sitting down for a meal together. Couples sat next to each other, and instead of talking to one another, they were on their cell phones talking with someone else. Parents brought their children in and sat silently eating their food while their children sent and received text messages. My own staff served their guests with a sense of separation, doing what they had to do in order to get back to their phones and text someone and still get a tip off the table. Across the street from my store is a city bus stop. It is amazing to watch people stand there waiting on a bus either too afraid or too unwilling to talk with one another. They stand yards apart reading a book, talking on their phones, watching a movie on their portable DVD player, listening to their iPod, or staring blankly into space or at the ground. All of this made me feel desperately alone.

Have we gotten too busy for friendships? Are really close friends a lost relic of past generations? Do we think friendships are for children? Do we have to be alone?

It is no wonder suicide rates are up. We have billions of people on earth. We have state-of-the-art communication technology. And, in the middle of our sea of humanity, we are still alone.

I don’t want to be alone anymore.


laura said...

Wow John, lonliness! You can't see it - but it's in everyone I am convinced. we all have it and wish it away most days - wonder why it never looks like anyone is alone at the places where it looks like everyone has a friend. It can simply just be a state of mind perhaps. Someone says "Laura, you have alot of friends" and I think sometimes "where are they?" Of course they are there, you have to reach out to them when you need them the most - but that's the hardest thing to do! Ironic, ey? They say to help someone else when we need it the most and that certainly helps. It takes the mind off your own troubles and just maybe, makes a good friend in the process. I have a good amount of friends, but I do not do what I should to maintain those friends and wish that I would. It's hard to do, but it's the best thing to do. I am thinking of one good friend I spent time with yesterday and she just turned 40 (I won't name names :-) and she is the best for checking on me, giving the unexpected gifts and just simply caring when I didn't even realize it coming. She has prompted me to be a better friend! I also love the friends that will cry with me - yes, I am admitting on national blog that I am emotional :-) I am emotional and thankful for it. I am thankful to be able to cry with someone - Lisa E, Glenda F and Debbie J are my cry buddies. You guys mean more to me than you will ever know. So - talking about lonliness? It's there and it's satan trying to pull us away from the ones we love and love us - we have to fight it everyday! God is our number 1 friend and if we tapped into Him every day, perhaps - well I know, we would not feel the loneliness. I guess we just answered our question didn't we. I you and all of us need to use every minute of our being to encourage each other to be in the Word and to listen to it and practice it. If we gave that to priority - we would be the most "unlonely" (a word??) in town. I am so glad to read your blogs now John. It inspires me and maybe I'll spring one up in the future. I have to defend myself from my husband's blog you know. It's nice to share the feelings and realize we are not "alone" in how we feel - oh the irony. Take care!

John Mustain said...

Well said, Laura! Thanks.