Well, the holidays are approaching and most of us are getting our lists together, planning family get- together’s, decking the halls, re-doing the layouts of our homes, and just preparing for the Christmas season. The holidays are meant to be full of love, hope, wishes, joy and gladness. Most memories of the holidays have always involved much laughter, welcoming new beginnings, a ton of food, and a ton of love. But, unfortunately many people this year will be facing everything but those things. Whether you survived the Hurricane season or the unnecessary violence we have witnessed these last few months, many people are not feeling too jolly this year. Many of us are feeling helpless, scared and very lonely. And the biggest issue with loneliness often comes down to having the feeling of being the ONLY one feeling or going through what you are dealing with. So, most of us hide our tears behind smiles, push down our hurt by keeping ourselves busy, or we push everyone away in an attempt to not feel any pain again. But, I am here to tell you that the “ONLY” can be taken away from the lonely because you are not the ONLY one lost or confused. You are not the ONLY one who is afraid. You are not the ONLY one who has a hard time smiling through your tears. Let’s figure it out together, shall we?
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18
How many of you have an issue with asking for help? I bet you at least 50% of us would raise our hands. I was recently watching my three- year- old valiantly try to open a bag of chips. He worked on that bag for a good two minutes before he then asked me to help him open the bag. I watched him turn the bag upside down, sideways, he even tried to open it through the middle. But he refused to ask for any help until his hunger for the chips outweighed his pride in opening the bag himself. This is what many of us do. We wait until the hunger is gnawing at us, or the load has broken our backs before we grudgingly ask for help. We already put on the LONELY attitude from the beginning because we assume we are the ONLY ones to get ourselves where we want to go. We tell ourselves, “I am the ONLY one who matters,” or “I am the ONLY one who can handle this,” or “I am the ONLY one who can make this work.” Then before you know it, you are literally the ONLY one doing things, the ONLY one solving everyone’s problems, the ONLY one called to clean up messes, the ONLY one staying late to get projects done, the ONLY one angry and depressed because you made sure you put the ONLY in LONELY. You must understand that God never intended for any of us to live life by ourselves. We are all created to help one another whether it be during the Hello’s or Goodby’s in life.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” … Hebrews 13:1-25
None of us want to be left behind. And during the Holiday season many people feel like that. Maybe it is because of messed up childhoods, or messed up adulthood people do not feel good will toward their fellow-man. I do not know how many people I hear complain about the Salvation Army bell ringers that stand outside of the stores during the Holidays. I see countless people pass right by, yet they continue to ring those bells. They do not give up when no one stops, but instead stay determined to get at least one person to care enough to put some change in the bucket. That bell continues to ring. Organizations like this are only able to reach out because we, their fellow brothers and sisters, first reach out to help them. They saw a need to take the ONLY out of lonely with every ring of that bell.
Finally, I would like for all of us to not be lonely during the Holidays. The suicide rate rises tremendously during the Holidays because of so many lonely people. God created you and continues to bless you with so many gifts. You were not born lonely. You needed to be pushed out into the world. God continues to push us to higher heights through the family, friends, and strangers who have just what we need to move us to the next thing. Whether it is a kind word or gesture, reach out this Holiday season to someone who is lonely. And if you are the one who is feeling lonely, I want you to know you are not the ONLY one. There are people who can and will help you. Remember that God makes messes into messages! We can begin today to take the “ONLY” out of lonely, you only have to ask. You got this.