by Rod Smith

Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. Not everyone who is alone is lonely. 

Being around people, even family, does not mean a person cannot be lonely. Being lonely in a crowd is common. 

On rare occasions when I am alone, I really enjoy it. If I am traveling and held up for a few days, or if I choose to self-isolate for a few days I find it very refreshing. But these are periods of choice, of privilege. 

There are people who are literally alone, month in, month out and not as a result of choice. There are people who are deeply enmeshed in families and groups who are wilting in desperate loneliness. 

There is loneliness where there is no significant, trusted, sustained human interaction or deep human connection. Where life is without give-and-take, playfulness, dialogue, or sharing there is loneliness. There is loneliness where the world seems indifferent, when it seems to make no difference whether a person is present or absent. When your life seems to not matter, not to anyone, alone or in a crowd, there is loneliness.

May we be agents of healing when faced with people who are seemingly without friendship and hope.

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