In Italy, the other day, sobs from an apartment building could be heard. An elderly couple lived there and the crying was so loud and intense, the police were called. No crime was committed, no one was hurt physically yet this sweet couple were crying, because of loneliness. (Washington post).
The couple, a 94 year old man and a 89 year old woman, who had not had visitors for months, had just heard some distressing news on the television and just felt a surge of loneliness.
The story does get better. The officers on finding the couple in distress, cooked them dinner and visited with them. Now those officers check in on them periodically.
Mother Teresa claims that "loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible kind of poverty"
The police officers observed that food was scarce in their house, yet managed to cook a simple meal to help their physical suffering. The companionship, time and attention had helped to ease their loneliness and spiritual hunger.
This story tugged at my heart strings. How many people in the world suffer from loneliness. Unfortunately, being around people does not always cure loneliness. All of us have felt lonely at home with family, at church or at school. That is tragic.
So my little philosophical brain got working and wondering why do we mortals get lonely? Why the need for human interaction? Why can't we function alone without people? Why do we need each other so much?
I don't know the answers, yet I have to say it was the way we were made by our Creator. He wanted us to live in families, he wanted us to have friends. Our Creator is about relationships. Think about it. He sent His Son as a tiny babe to a family. And then His Son lived a life to make relationships last beyond the grave and into eternity. However, in order to have eternal relationships, He asks that we have a relationship with Him. John 17:3 When we die, we don't just go to our own little world and become perfect and self-fulfilled, we live in relationships.
Our souls yearn for the companionship of people. And not just warm bodies around us, but people that connect with us, help us and love us. Our very souls cry, just as that sweet elderly couple, cried out.
So is there a cure for loneliness?
Mother Teresa says , "There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love"
Love. Christlike love is the answer. M. Russell Ballard states, using a bee analogy as illustration "to pollinate the world with Christlike love". Because, perhaps, our despair comes not only from a lack of love, but from a longing for Christ and that longing can only be fulfilled in this fallen world as we mortals share His love.