Since I was about 10, I’ve felt alone. In 4th grade, my parents moved in the middle of the school year. It’s always hard being the new kid; it’s way harder when you’re dropped into the middle of a year. I grew up being the nerdy kid – picked last for dodgeball, not having a set of close friends. Even after college, that sense of loneliness stuck with me – I was single through most of my 20s, and I still remember times when it seemed like everyone I knew had someone else they’d rather spend time with and I was home alone.
You might think that the story ends with, “And then I got married and lived happily ever after,” but of course that’s not true. Marriage doesn’t fix loneliness.
I bring up loneliness this morning because it’s one of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. Over the last couple of years, we’ve experienced more than a day or a week of loneliness. A growing number of us feel lonely often or all the time. It can be crushing. Even for married folks. Even for a house full of kids. Even for introverts.
And let’s get this out of the way right away: I don’t have a cure for loneliness. I don’t have a magical way to end the pandemic and get everything back to normal. But what we do find today is an affirmation of God’s presence with us.