≡ Menu

Loneliness

Today’s Reflection

TO BE HUMAN is to know and experience loneliness and, in that loneliness, the longing for connection and communion. Some of the most soulful, simple, and compassionate people I know are financially wealthy and, like me, have a longing for love, friendship, community, and communion. Some of my most generous friends are people with an intellectual disability who have no money and who experience an almost unthinkable vulnerability in our modern world. They, like me, long for friendship and communion.

One of the myths we tell ourselves about money is that money will bring us happiness. Years ago, someone with a lot of financial wealth said to me, “You know, don’t you, that people who have money are neither less lonely nor happier than others? We are just more comfortable.” My superficial response was to smile and nod. When I realized he was not making a joke, I replied, “Tell me more.” We had a short but heartfelt encounter in which he shared some of his loneliness. I could connect with him because I too know about loneliness.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition

From page 102 of A Spirituality of Fundraising: Workbook Edition by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Nathan Ball. Copyright © 2019 by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you sometimes think more stuff and more wealth will make you less lonely and happier?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
—Mark 10:25, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Creator God,
Give us vision and mission, so that we may find new life and direction. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Learn more about this week’s featured book, A Spirituality of Fundraising Workbook Edition.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Jill July 21, 2019, 5:41 am

    I would tend to think just the opposite. In the striving for more and more material things – I think there would be an exhaustion, a dissatisfaction – never getting enough. And, then when looking for comfort, these things don’t fulfill – they don’t sate the need inside, the emptiness, the desire for belonging. I believe there can be great satisfaction in simplicity.
    Dad and I, for various reasons, did not golf this past week. He wanted to play yesterday – but the heat was just too much. So, we had lunch and then spent the afternoon indoors watching the golf from “the other side of the pond”. It was a relaxing afternoon, with some good conversation. I think he is continuing to find balance in his new normal.
    Prayers for Megan and Julie as they continue their visit, and for calmness amid the many questions that surfaced from comments made. Father, in Your mercy, comfort them both.

  • robert moeller July 21, 2019, 6:28 am

    I have known for quite some time that money can not overcome loneliness. At best it makes you a temporary ?friend?. When the money goes away so does the ?friend?. I’m thankful that God is always there. No one else knows, loves, cares for me like God. Yes, I am thankful that God provides relationships of numerous kinds with fellow human beings, but God’s love surpasses them all.

    Prayers for all facing very hot and humid weather., be safe, take care, God be with you.

    I’m fully moved, nothing in storage! Continuing to sort things out.

    Yes, the weather was too hot for golf yesterday in most places on this side of the pond. Glad safety ruled and Jill and her Dad were spectators not players.

    Prayers for a positive peaceful and enduring solution for Julie and Megan. Reach out for help, pray, and you will find what is needed.

    Church today, I pray you all have a blessed Sunday.

  • Julie July 21, 2019, 8:17 am

    If one is always seeking wealth and material things, this removes our focus from God and others. Also, the more stuff we have the more we need to do to care for the stuff, leaving us little time to pursue God and relationships with others. However, if one does not have enough to live or has no security in their situation, this too can be distracting and take our focus off the Lord and direct it inward leaving us lonely. I can speak from experience that when one is worried about how one will put a roof over one’s head and food on the table, it can be easy to lose sight of the Lord and His love and care. It can also leave us isolated.
    Thank you Mary, Jill and Robert for your kind words and prayers. I truly and deeply appreciate them and you.
    Spending the day at a state park which is in the mountains. Both my mom and Megan mind the heat and it is cooler in the mountains.
    Prayers for healing, emotional and physical, for Andrea, Lowell, Connie, Lou and Marcy.
    Prayers for success in new homes for Betsy, Robert, and Erich. Glad to hear the move is finallycomplete for Robert and prayeing for a job for Erich.
    Prayers for Joy for Jill and Mary as they spent months selflessly caring for parents.
    Prayers, blessings, warm hugs and thank you one and all

  • Connie July 21, 2019, 2:02 pm

    I grew up during the depression, but never wanted for anything. As a single Mother we always had all we needed. Later on I had more, but it mattered not- I am not a spender. However, it was nice to know that it was available, but nothing changed very much. My motto is “Live Simply”. I have a towel set with that on it.
    Cooler today and that is nice. Trees down in town, but our street spared. Power out nearby.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 21, 2019, 11:50 pm

    More stuff and wealth will not make us less lonely and happier if we share them with others.

    Ultimately, God is our constant companion but it is good to have a spiritual friend to pray with and to be accountable for each other’s spiritual growth.

    Blessings!

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: