We live in such a lonely world. Not much of what I have to say about it is brand new, but I think it can encourage and touch the broken places in your experience of the world. I am going to release six parts, talking about loneliness, and I hope they end up bringing new life, even if they do hurt in the meantime.
We are many parts that make up a whole. Even though we are well-connected, we often experience a kind of demise, the death of loneliness. Yet, when we cling to the Connection we have to each other and the Communion initiated by God, we may yet experience the death of loneliness.
Loneliness, like a cancer, silently erodes the Body of Christ until, congregation by congregation, we are put on life support, isolated from our members, stigmatized from larger society. In the same way that several illnesses can affect the human body at once, they affect congregations of people at once. The arterial fibrillation of spiritual stagnation hits our dis-eased heart. The diabetes of ingesting Communion but not working out our faith clogs up and coagulates our intravenous connections. All the while we are lonely.
Isolation cancer is like a blood cancer, simultaneously affecting one member of the Body and every member of the Body. It travels through the vessels, wearing us down. It’s an atmospheric condition, a gas that we breathe in, or in the water that we drink. Only with great intentionality are we able to combat this cancer.
We may attempt to trick ourselves, saying that we are not affected by this cancer. After all, we are not hurting as badly as some of the other members. Nearly two millennia ago, a Church Body heard the words, “As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ Nor can the head say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” When we see one, isolated member of the Body ailing in loneliness, we ought to attend to that member, because its importance is probably already underestimated.
The loneliness we experience is in our marrow. It weakens our bones, eroding our skeletal structure. The Body stores its nutrients in the skeletal structure so that when we are fasting or when nutrients are less dense, we can pull from the bloodstream and also the bones. Therefore, if our day is plentiful, we may not realize the deficiency in the Body. However, when the day of need comes, the pain will be systemic, when we call on the different parts of the Body for help, realizing that they all have been affected by the same malady.