Thomasville Times Enterprise

Faith & values

May 3, 2014

Loneliness is a silent killer

You may not be a country music fan, but you have to admit the lyrics to most country songs evoke strong emotions. Hank Williams’ “I’m so lonesome I could cry” is one of the purest expressions of loneliness I have ever heard. Consider the following lyrics from this classic country song:

Did you hear that lonesome whippoorwill?

He sounds too blue to fly

The midnight train is whining low

I'm so lonesome, I could cry

I've never seen a night so long

When time goes crawling by

The moon just went behind a cloud

To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep

When leaves begin to die?

That means he's lost the will to live

I'm so lonesome, I could cry

The silence of a falling star

Light's up a purple sky

And as I wonder where you are

I'm so lonesome, I could cry

Elvis Presley, B.J. Thomas, Amy Lee, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart and Keith Urban and other major crossover artists recorded this evocative tribute to loneliness.

Loneliness is a silent killer that attacks men and women from all life positions and economic strata.  The feeling of being alone in a difficult situation is almost overwhelming emotionally and physically.  Loneliness while tied to circumstances is most often a state of mind. It is not necessarily about being alone but being engulfed with the perception of being alone and isolated. Albert Einstein, one of the world’s smartest and most honored scientist through the ages, is quoted as saying, “It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.” Great men and women who accomplish much fight this enemy called loneliness.

Research shows loneliness impacts stress levels, heart health and immunity. Lonely adults consume more alcohol, exercise less, have a diet higher in fat, sleep less efficiently and have more daytime fatigue.  Loneliness interrupts the cellular processes within the body predisposing us to premature aging, according to John Cacioppo, co-author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,

So is loneliness something new or did men and women in Biblical times experience it, too? In Psalms 25:16-17, we find this heart cry, “Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!” (NLT)

Even Jesus, son of God, cried these words from the cross of Calvary, “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (NKJ)

It seems loneliness always pays a visit when we are in distress, our problems have increased or when we are in darkness as Jesus was. So how do we send this unwanted visitor packing?

These five natural tips for overcoming are offered by Cacioppo. First, recognize that something needs to change. Secondly, gain understanding as to the effects that loneliness has on your life, physically and mentally. Thirdly, consider doing community service or another activity that you enjoy where you have greater opportunity to meet people and cultivate new friendships. Next, focus on developing quality relationship with people who share similar attitudes, interests and values. Finally, expect the best. Lonely people often expect rejection, so instead focus on positive thoughts and attitudes in your social relationships.

Spiritually, develop a relationship with the Lord for he certainly knows what it feels like to be alone on life’s worst cross. He has promised in his word that he will always be available for everyone who calls out to Him. Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJ) encourages us “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Loneliness is not supposed to be our constant companion and best friend. It will produce the wrong results in our life.  Trust God, kick out loneliness, and make a change for a better life.

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