Edna says, “First, I lost my mom, then four years later my husband and then three years after that my dad died. I feel so lost. I have no one. I sometimes feel that God has forgotten me. Where do I turn?”
God responds to those who are lonely and sad. In Isaiah 58:10, God says, “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.” God seems to be saying, forget yourself, for a little while, and focus on helping others who are suffering.
Recently, I asked a widow, how did you, and how do you cope with the loneliness after your husband died? Janet responded, “I was surrounded by neighbors who I did not know because my husband and I had recently moved to Holland, Michigan. So, I started inviting neighbors to dinners in my home. Most people enjoy a dinner out, and I love to cook. So, everyone benefitted. My lonely house was filled with people, I met wonderful new friends and life seemed hopeful again. Eventually, I also started inviting individuals from my church.”
Another widow responded, “I began to look around our congregation. I saw many widows, widowers and other individuals who were alone. I came up with a plan: whenever I began to feel lonely, I do one of the following:
- Pick up the phone and call someone
- Write and send a card
- Visit someone—especially those who may be home-bound or in a nursing home”
Another person’s advice is: volunteer your service to others. There are volunteer programs at hospitals, churches, schools and libraries. Consider visiting a nursing home to cheer up the patients. When you reach out, you find purpose and moments of joy.
What if you live far away from your family, or you must keep your distance socially for health reasons? Here are two excellent ideas for caring from a distance:
- Send a holiday-themed care package. Wrap a series of small gifts, along with a note for the recipient to open, one day at a time. Include a note that explains they are to take time for themselves, get in a comfy chair and open one box a day. For example, you could choose the week leading up to Thanksgiving, or Advent season. You might include an individually wrapped cookie with the note, “Remembering all the Christmas cookies we made together,” or a candle with, “This candle reminds me of how you were a light to me when I was going through my divorce.” It will remind you of your friendships and also brighten someone else’s day.
- Organize a “Friends and Family Marathon” to cheer someone up. Chances are, you probably know somebody else who is lonely. Choose a month and enlist friends and family of a lonely person to sign up for a day when they will reach out to that person on their designated day, via phone call, text, note card or email. Just think, that’s 30+ potential contacts that a lonely person might receive in a month! And you made it happen by organizing it.
So let us remember, one way to cope with loneliness: forget yourself, for a little while, and focus on helping others. You might be surprised to feel your spirits lift.
For more wisdom on loneliness, click on the link below:
Tips for Coping with Loneliness