One Is the Loneliest Number…

Did you ever feel invisible?  It just seems like sometimes no one even knows I’m here.  Week after week, I have been plastering across the Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in about my book.  I’ve talked to friends and strangers alike handing out one business card after the other and it never ceases to amaze me that many act surprised that when they hear me say I am an author.  I see them on Facebook because they are my friends, but how do they not know what is going on with my life?  My pastor said a week or so ago, “If you haven’t noticed, people are not nearly as excited about your life as you are!”  I laughed when he said it but I am beginning to experience or at least acknowledge the reality of his statement.  Being the baby of the family, that’s a difficult concept for me to accept.  Why is it that this is the norm?

Saturday we stopped at Panera for a bite in-between carpeting stores.  As Jim was up waiting on our food, I notice a little old man going to town on his pick-two meal.  There is something about old men I love—I am drawn to them. I guess it is their big furry ears and pants pulled up to their armpits that is endearing to me.  When I was younger, my great-aunt and uncle were my chief care-givers as my mom had returned to her career by the time she had me and dad, too, worked a lot.  I spent a lot of time with Mama and Daddy Bill and their friends.  I’m not much of a shopper and never have been.  When we would go shopping, often, Daddy Bill and I would go sit on a bench at the mall while Mama went into the store to retrieve whatever she needed that day.  Daddy Bill would talk to anyone who sat down beside us and it was usually other men waiting on their wives as well.  I would enjoy the conversation and giggle as they complained about the shopping their wives were doing but when it rolled around to their recent prostrate troubles, I would exit and go throw some pennies into the fountain hoping Mama came back fast!

I grew accustomed to hanging out with older folks as even when mom and dad would come home, I would often go out with Mama and Daddy Bill to their friends’ houses to play cards or hang out in the evenings.  One year I went to the county fair with them to celebrate their 50th anniversary and watched proudly as they accepted their award–their cheering section of one.  We would even go pick up their friends, load them into the car and take them to the grocery, hairdresser, or wherever they wanted to go.  Me being squished between two old ladies talking and spitting on me in the back seat seemed all so normal at the time.

My mind went crazy as I imagined why this man was all alone on a Saturday for lunch.  Truth be known, he may have been enjoying his solitude.  I will never know what his story is.  But this scenario did make me stop and think about the millions of lonely people in this world.  My heart went out to him if here were truly a widower out trying to find a decent hot meal.  Then my mind went to the young mom struggling to figure out this new motherhood thing, isolated at home with no car to get out and find other moms to hang out with.  Then I thought about the soldiers in Afghanistan a world away from their families and loved ones living for a three-minute phone call twice a week–and their wives and kids the same.  So what if someone missed my Facebook post?!  This life isn’t all about me.  Rather, it is about touching the lives of those whose paths cross ours and helping them feel visible in an invisible world.

Who is in your world today that might benefit from a phone call, note or perhaps lunch with a friend who understands?  Are we so busy that we can’t put our life on hold for an hour or two to go sit on the bench so to speak and hear what’s going on in someone’s life?  Chances are there is someone you know that is today as I write, struggling with loneliness.  When we take the time to reach out to others and spend time in their world, surprisingly, we are the ones who come away feeling blessed.   For when you touch someone’s life, you are no longer invisible; rather you are someone they will never forget.

Mama and Daddy Bill were as old if not older than those they talked to on the bench or drove around town.  They could’ve chosen to stay at home and watch soap operas all day while feeling sorry for themselves in their senior years.  However, they chose to go help others who needed their help.  They were two of the most giving people I know and I am happy to have had them as role models in my early years.  I never really heard them complain of loneliness as they had figured out the secret cure for sure.

Are you lonely today?  Are you feeling invisible as if no one cares or even knows you exist?  Do you wonder why others always seem to be the one everyone thinks of before you?  If so, I would say to you, “When was the last time you reached out to someone in need?  Have you taken the time lately to sit and listen to someone’s struggles or even just the stories they’re dying to tell?” describes the word lonely as “standing apart; isolated: a lonely tower.”  So to me this is screaming out to me saying if you are lonely, stop being so isolated!  Find someone who needs you rather than looking for someone you think will fill your void.  Because remember, they are not nearly as concerned about your life as you are.

To sum things up in closing I would say, use the tools before you today.  If you’re on Facebook, take the time to read between the lines.  Is there someone who needs to be encouraged?  Did someone just lose a loved one that you could give a little of your time to talk?  Maybe someone just tweeted about drama going on their lives and could use a friend right now.  Was that a tear you saw in someone’s eye Sunday as they quietly slipped out of church while the last song played?  Perhaps there’s an old man on the bench at the mall that needs a smile and a hello.  Whatever it is in your world that stands out to you is probably that which will bless you for giving it your time and attention.  Have a blessed week as you go out and bless others!  At the end of the week well served, I’ll even let you borrow my phrase, “Just Trying to Be a Blessing!”

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)…A man who has friends must himself be friendly…

Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)…As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.