I’m So Lonesome

I’m So Lonesome
Psalm 68:6a
On the way home this past week I had my iTunes on shuffle when Hank came on with mournful sounds of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” If you don’t who Hank is, well… he is just one of the greatest country singers ever. Anyhow as I listened to the words of the song, “The midnight train is whining low and I’m so lonesome I could cry…” I began to think about how many people in our community feel that way. Loneliness is not just for country music, although they tell it as good if not better than anyone, but for many people loneliness is a sad fact of life. Did you know that nearly one out of three older Americans now live alone? And as the Baby Boomers continue to age that number is going to grow.
Did you know that loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? Two in five Americans report that they sometimes or always feel their social relationships are not meaningful, and one in five say they feel lonely or socially isolated. The lack of connection can have life threatening consequences, according to testimony that BYU professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad gave before the U.S. Senate in April, 2017 that the problem is structural as well as psychological.
And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, over a quarter of the U.S. population — and 28 percent of older adults — now live by themselves.

The good news is that friendships reduce the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases and can speed recovery in those who fall ill. Moreover, simply reaching out to lonely people can jump-start the process of getting them to engage with neighbors and peers, according to Robin Caruso of CareMore Health, which operates in 8 states and the District of Columbia with a focus on Medicare patients. Her “Togetherness” initiative aims to combat “an epidemic of loneliness” among seniors through weekly phone calls, home visits and community programs.
As I read those reports I wondered what that says to us as a church and what we can do about it. How does God feel about the lonely? The Psalmist wrote in Psalms 68:6a God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing;
And the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1 tells us about how God acts. There he says, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
As a church we, as we imitate God the Father, should also seek to bring comfort to those who are lonely. Do you know someone who lives alone? Make a phone call, go and take a half an hour and visit them. Take them somewhere, many older people just enjoy a drive in the country. Or perhaps the best thing you can do is to pick them up and bring them to church where they will get to know others who will show them the love of Christ. Remember Jesus is the great comforter.