Never in the history of humanity has it been so easy to exist without any human contact.
Think about it. From telephones, to TVs, to automatic garage door openers, drive through dining, headphones, the internet, emails, online shopping, home grocery delivery, social media, along with countless other innovations over the years, we have progressively dismissed the need and opportunity for face to face social life. We live in a world that actually pays money for these "conveniences" that also happen to dismiss opportunity for "connectedness". In a way, we have been convinced to purchase our own solitary confinement.
Then drop in a worldwide Covid pandemic where isolation is literally recommended, and sometimes mandated. Even some of the new and now-common terms like "social distancing" and "mask up" - while useful in keeping a virus from transmitting - enshrine practices that unintentionally cause more disconnection.
With all of this, is it any surprise that a recent study says that over one third of adults feel lonely, and that over 60% of teenagers and young adults report high levels of loneliness? Make no mistake, this is big, because loneliness is literally a killer, a key factor in depression, anxiety, serious health conditions, and even suicide.
Loneliness has always been an issue, but 2020 has multiplied its spread, and magnified its danger.
Now check this out: Did you know that loneliness is the very first problem identified in the Bible? Yep. Right after God is reported to have created everything, and declared it all "good", He then dramatically identifies the first thing that He deems "not good". He says, "It is not good for man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18)
The reality is, all of us have experienced it just enough to already know what the stats and the Bible say about being alone - it is not good. But what can we do?
Whether you feel lonely or not, we all have a part to play in addressing this loneliness pandemic. And the reality is, the answers to the question of how we address loneliness are embarrassingly simple. But in a culture that has so normalized disconnection, it is not easy. Like so many things... simple, but not easy.
Let us dive into this subject, find hope (be it for yourself or others), and then do what it takes to break this proverbial quarantine... together.