I Am All Along and it’s Killing Me

Chapter Four

For reasons I am unaware of, I am mostly alone. I work out of my house, when I can find work, so no co-workers, etc., just alone day after day. Sure, I see some of the folks living around me, but no real contact. Earlier in my life I had family, and some friends. I doubt I will ever marry; no one has really ever been interested in me. I confess that I cry about this a lot. It makes me want to end it all.

The above is a composite of life experience that I have heard from people over the years, and I could go on and on with it, but I think it is plain where I am going.

Being lonely is now recognized as a national pandemic like circumstance. A high percentage of Americans live alone, and this number is climbing. It is noted that all ages are represented too, young, middle aged, and old folks like me.

Some can barely make it out of the places they live in, due often to physical conditions, so time goes rolling along in aloneness. And the thought of ending it all seizes us, and this is not uncommon at all.

As a pastor of a church, gladly a small congregation, I am aware of those who are virtually living alone and without much contact with others. Not too long ago an elderly lady here at Miller Avenue Church went missing and it took several weeks before we found that she had died of a heart attack in her home, and no one knew. Yes, I lay some blame for this on myself as have several others at MAC. In fact, we are spreading her ashes three days from the writing of this piece.

My heart aches, from time to time, when I realize the unhappy conditions some are living with. I think the primary ministry I engage in is phone calling. I have a sheet of paper with 29 names on it, and it is my goal to call each of these at least every other week. (Usually, I get ahold of everyone on the list weekly.) It could be the most important thing I do. There are at least six of those on my list who have never attended a church service and likely never will.

Aloneness then is not one of the factors which has troubled me over the years; actually a little les contact would be fine, but what happens to me, my heart aches for the lonely ones.

“Only the lonely” so the song goes, Roy Orbison I think sang the song, and it is these lonely I so much want to focus on. First things first then, those of us who are lonely have to admit it that we are lonely and figure out ways to deal with it. Wow, what a potent thing to reveal: “Hi my name is Kent and I am lonely.”

Here are some ideas, and I know I am only scratching the surface.

Find a place to meet with other people. Now Katie and I are pastors and so we have our congregation that we spend hours with every week. Seek out a church, a small one is good, and get to know folks. Get involved if at all possible. Sing in a choir, be an usher, volunteer to do janitorial stuff, oh, lots of stuff really. Talk to a pastor, an elder, a deacon, be frank about your situation. Good things could happen.

If not a church, well my wife and I are members of our local Jewish Community Center, and we have lots of friends there, in fact, about half the time we spend there is talking with others. So two good things, working out, and meeting people.

Most communities have things going on that a person could engage in. Look around, go on the internet, check out local newspapers––you will find some groups to be part of. Don’t give up, keep it up, make the calls. Maybe working with animals, a gardener’s guild, a bridge club. Volunteering around, usually lots of needs here.

Another possibility is to contact a social worker by calling your county’s administrative office and explaining your need. Also think about contacting your local school district’s office and find out if there is anything you could volunteer for.

Get involved, do something, and do not give up easily. There will be a place where you are needed.

We simply will not allow loneliness to kill us. No way!

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