Union Ridge Church

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

by Reverend Dan on February 23, 2022
There’s a great difference (and a good bit of confusion) between being "alone" and being "lonely." And when people are in the grips of grief, it's hard to bridge the gap and understand the difference, and therefore hard to move forward in processing that grief.

We are “alone” when the physical presence of someone is absent. It’s an external thing. Therefore being “alone” is easily resolved; put yourself in the presence and company of another person and then you’re not “alone.”

Being “lonely”, however, is completely different. It’s internal. You can be sitting by yourself in the middle of the mall with hundreds of people around, and yet you feel disconnected from everything and everyone around you. It’s as if you can see people, but you don’t feel a part of life anymore. You’re watching life from “outside the bubble” and having another person around will not alleviate the loneliness. It may mitigate the depth, but only momentarily. You may not be alone, but you are still lonely.
Many people seek to be “alone” at times; they need a respite from the busy and noisy world to recalibrate and find a sense of quiet and calm. I’ve never heard of anyone seeking to be “lonely”, however. That feeling where you’ve lost your connection to life. Where everything takes on increased significance and you feel pain at a deeper level because you feel unable to connect with anyone. Even if someone is around you feel as if they can’t hear you. Comfort you. Understand what you’re feeling. It’s what C.S. Lewis called “going alone into the great alone.”

There is a scripture where the prophet Joshua gives us a promise from God that we can cling to whenever the depths of loneliness overwhelm us: “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

There's never a need to feel alone - or lonely - in the presence of God. God’s good like that. Call on His Name.​​​​​​​