Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you lonesome tonight?

"It's at night when its' the hardest. When I'm alone, that's when it really hits me. I wish it was tomorrow already so I could be with the people"

Last night cruising through facebook I found this quote written by one of my students. If you were to casually see her around you probably wouldn't catch on to the fact that she is lonely. Many times I forget people around me are struggling with loneliness. This is true of adults I encounter but perhaps even more true for students. The truth is all people feel lonely sometimes and some people feel lonely all the time.

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody"

Mother Theresa

Here are a few random thoughts on loneliness...

* Loneliness has little to do with the absence of people

Sometimes people who are the life of the party are the ones who feel the loneliest. Don't be fooled by the person who is in the center of everything. It could be they're trying to ease the pain by acting loud and together.

* Loneliness is many times covered up by busyness

People do a great job of medicating the things that hurt. It makes sense. You have a headache you take an aspirin. You feel lonely when you have nothing to do, you fill your life with all kinds of activity. Activity only eases the symptom. A person is truly healthy when they're comfortable alone and comfortable in a group.

* Loneliness is ultimately being homesick for God

This thought isn't original with me (like anything truly is?) but I love it. God has made each person with a longing for togetherness, to be together with Him and then together with one another.

For those of us who work with students it's our mission to connect students with God and with each other. It's become vogue in the last few years to speak of authentic, God centered community, but that's actually what the church should be about.

Keep pressing students toward intimacy with God. Keep encouraging students towards community with each other and the rest of the body. Your group is more than a high school band or middle school football team. Yes, students will find community somewhere but there's only one person and one community that meets the deepest longing of the soul.

It's hard to believe
that there's nobody out there
It's hard to believe
that I'm all alone
At least I have her love
the city she loves me
Lonely as I am
together we cry

Let's make sure students know there's more than a city that loves them. There's a savior and his people who become family for those without.