It’s wild to think that in a day and age like this one, loneliness is more pronounced than it has ever been. Even though you can pick up your phone and video chat with people or send messages in seconds, we still have people who aren’t connected.
They are lonely.
For the most part, I think the folks that feel it are the folks who are used to old-fashioned communication. You know, back in the old days, people were around one another more than they are now. Entertainment options were few, so people got together, cooked and ate meals together, played cards, went on outings, and so on. People picked up the phone and talked to one another often, even if just for a few minutes. Folks would work all week, and then often go visiting after church on Sunday. Sounds archaic, but it was a pretty good system.
We are more connected than ever, yet we have folks in nursing homes who aren’t having any contact with families. I realize we are in a pandemic, but I believe some of these poor people are suffering from broken hearts, thinking no one cares.
Surely there is someone who could set up even a Facetime, video chat type interaction with some of these folks. Surely seeing a familiar face and hearing a family member’s voice would help. I would also imagine things could be figured out so that these folks could have some sort of physical touch.
I just heard a story the other day from a dear friend of a lady who was quietly slipping away. No one was allowed to visit her, and most people who were ministering to her were sure she had only a few days left.
Finally, in desperation, a family member “suited up” and went into the home. She sat with her, talked to her, gave her hugs. She was covered head to toe and her hugs involved a lot of “crinkled plastic” sounds.
But it was a hug. It was a touch. There was a voice and a face.
The lady bounced back. Hospice was taken away. She started eating again.
All because of a short visit.
With social media and all the connection opportunities we have before us, we have been duped into thinking we have solid relationships. We have hundreds of Facebook friends and about that many followers on Instagram. Large numbers of people watch our videos and shoot us short messages all sorts of different ways.
But have we socialized with these people? Have we opened our homes, talked on the phone, visited, or really interacted?
Moreover, we have become so conditioned to what I call “drive-by” relationships that we almost get testy when people want more.
I know that I myself have shot a text to a buddy to ask a question, only to have him dare to call me on the phone! I mean, I have no time for that, do I?
I probably do have time. A short phone discussion can take way less time than it takes to text a detailed message.
Many relationships are of surface level quality. Like me, people don’t have time. They don’t make time. We find this everywhere in society these days; even in church. People want to help you, but they don’t want to hang out with you.
Relationships are going by the wayside.
I always tell my students about things like this. I tell them that they need to change our world. I encourage them to hang out with their grandparents and write letters to one another. I encourage them to pass notes sometimes and giggle on the phone with their friends.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We need each other.