After the funeral, my sister and her husband stayed with my mom for a few weeks to help tie up the loose ends and cushion the blow of losing a spouse of 63 years. And within months, my mom found herself alone, rattling around in a six-bedroom farmhouse with just her dog and a cat. She couldn’t volunteer at school because school was closed, and everyone was told to stay inside and hide, especially the older community.
To grieve for a spouse during the pandemic was like throwing you in the basement, shutting off the lights and assuring you we are all in this together. Lonely doesn’t even begin to describe my 88-year-old mom, in perfect health except for her macular degeneration that has left her legally blind. She was not the only one facing a seemingly bleak future with nothing but chaos in sight; we had a nation full of people thinking that social media and doing the right thing would get us through the pandemic unscathed.
But that’s not what happened.
We’ve seen the devastating effect loneliness has had on every demographic. Technology, social media, slogans on yard signs and documentaries on strange tiger-loving drug addicts were supposed to fill the void of weekly worship services, holiday gatherings and normal life interactions.
But two years later, we are discovering that none of that could replace seeing smiles, a warm hug or hearing a congregation sing hymns in harmony.
This should not be a surprise to anyone. We were not created to be alone. We were created for community, to be with one another. Our bodies, minds and souls are meant to fellowship with each other, to hug, to hold and refresh one another. We gain knowledge and wisdom from each other’s experience. Making a friend laugh and simply sharing life over a cup of coffee can relieve stress, fill a void and spur us on to get through the hard days.
Being on the farm can also be a lonely existence. The work is hard, the days are long, and the human interaction can be erratic at best. Watching a good movie or engaging in social media can distract us for a few minutes but is no replacement for face-to-face relationships that blossom and grow through shared experiences. It was reported recently by a dietitian that a lack of human interaction can have the same detrimental impact on your body as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
It’s time to break out of the isolation the enemy has built for you. He is trying to build a vault for you, but he cannot overcome the strength of God, who sent his son to set you free. Stop the solitary confinement of scrolling on your phone and invite someone over for dinner. Don’t allow the enemy to discourage you from hosting a pizza party or meeting someone for coffee. The longer we stay alone, the harder it will be to reach out to friends.
Host a lunch; accept the invitation to dinner after church, go to church instead of watching it online. People want to spend time with you, no matter what the enemy is whispering in your ear. You have something to offer the world, and keeping it hidden will rob others of the nourishment they need.
You are valuable. You are irreplaceable. You are influential. Take that to the bank and ruin the enemy’s plan to steal, kill and destroy. Your life’s plan is to flourish with hope and a future. It’s time to live that plan.
- Freelance Writer
- North Adams, Michigan