Story of the Day for Saturday June 25, 2011
Will It Take You 21 Days?
Jesus told them, “I feel as if I could die from sadness. Stay here and keep awake with me.”
When God created the heavens and the earth, he pronounced everything “good.” The first time the Lord says something was “not good” was not after Adam and Eve sinned, but while all the fruit still hung on The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As God observed his good creation, he declared it was “not good” that the Man should be alone.
Hunger is not a sin – it simply means we lack the food we need to sustain our bodies. Similarly, loneliness is not a sin because God created us to live in community with others, and he made sure Adam would not be lonely. Even Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, wanted his closest friends to be near him in his struggle. He didn’t need a sermon; he just wanted them to stay awake with him. To be there.
Loneliness is not caused by a lack of people around us, but by a lack of relationship. This is felt most acutely by empty-nesters, the loss of a spouse, or a move into a strange city. The elderly, because they experience severed relationships, often suffer from loneliness. Yet, oddly enough, Dr. Joseph Hartog, an expert in the study of loneliness, says the loneliest age group of all is high school youth. Kids are surrounded by others, but relationships can be precarious and heartbreaking.
Yet, while loneliness is a lack of a God-given need, we can sometimes create the conditions that deepen our aloneness. Many attempts to relieve loneliness only make matters worse.
If you meet a lonely person, what do they do? They talk your ear off, right? They jabber so incessantly that you struggle to wedge a single sentence into the conversation. Yet, ironically, those who dominate the conversation will always remain lonely.
The cure for loneliness isn’t simply finding a victim to be a listening ear, because we still haven’t established a relationship. A relationship involves talking AND listening. Receiving AND giving.
The story is told that the famous psychologist, Alfred Adler, once claimed he could cure anyone of emotional difficulties in two weeks – if they followed his prescription.
A desperately lonely woman came to Adler’s office. She was doubtful Adler could cure her loneliness, but asked, “What do you want me to do?”
“If you will do something for someone else every day for fourteen days,” Adler replied, “at the end of the time, your loneliness will be gone.”
The woman objected, “Why should I do anything for someone else? No one ever does anything for me.”
Adler is said to have responded, “Well, maybe it will take you twenty-one days.”
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)