We are lonely individuals, members of a lowly nation. Saint Augustine said that humans suffer from a condition called “curvatis,” that we are “turned in” on ourselves, to where we cannot see anything else. Like a hand with a tightened tendon that cannot open up, we cannot open up to our neighbors or to God, unless something happens.
The cancer of loneliness has many symptoms, some of which I recognize. While our addicted selves try to find healing in things that do not heal, we cannot hear the truth about our loneliness. Unfortunately, it is only when we hit the bottom that we can hear the Truth. The Psalmist writes, “Out of the depths, I cry out to you, oh Lord!” If you are in the depths of loneliness right now, I am speaking to you. If you are not, then I am planting an idea of what you might do when and if you hit that depth.
In the same way that a body with blood cancer may never be healed of it, we may never be healed of loneliness in this life. And even if we are, we are always vulnerable to a relapse. It is the condition of this world and the unhealthy culture around us. But the story does not stop there!
Jesus is the Great Physician, one who can do surgery on our prideful souls. Loneliness is not about social media, political persuasion, or the things we do to our bodies. These are manifestations of our loneliness but not the cause. Loneliness originates in the heart and soul.
We see the life of Jesus — his birth, ministry, passion and death, resurrection, and ascension. Then, of all the crazy things, we are called to be followers of Jesus. Christianity is not failing, because it does not work. It is failing, because we are not followers of Jesus. The things that Jesus did, we have not even tried.
The cure for loneliness lies in literally trying to love the hell out of each other. The cure for loneliness lies in allowing God to love us through the changing of our lifestyles. Are we brave enough to try that?
When our bodies are physically devastated by cancer, we must go through a treatment that feels like it is killing us. And truthfully, cancer does kill part of our bodies. I know people who walk with a limp, because of cancer treatment, much like Jacob walked with a limp after wrestling with God.
Are we willing to be passionate, to undergo a divine therapy for our loneliness? If we are, part of us may die or be diminished in the process. But when that happens, we will realize that what died during our disciplines was not really us. Like a cancerous tumor being cut away, or like a toxic vine that has grown into the bark of an oak tree being removed, we will feel agony and have scars. But after a time of healing, and through a process of recovering, we will come to see that our loneliness has been replaced with connection and communion.