I t was Woodrow Wilson who in reading the biographies of Abraham Lincoln made this observation: “No one was an intimate friend of Lincoln. He was a very lonely man who comprehended people without fully communicating with them.”
Loneliness is a burden heavy to bear. The longer I live the more I find that people of all ages and social stations lead lonely lives. If you find yourself to be lonely, take heart; you are not alone.
Jesus Christ had to deal with the problem of loneliness. Just prior to the last week of his life on earth he said to his disciples, “You shall be scattered, every man to his own, and you will leave me alone.”
How does one learn to cope with loneliness? Some people turn to drugs and drink. Some people wall themselves off from the world and become bitter. Others become hostile toward others and strike out in rage. Surely, there is another way. There is another way.
1. If you would overcome loneliness try loving people. As Madelyn S. Bridges has written: “Give love, and love to your life will flow, And strengthen your inmost needs.”
Jesus was right when he counseled us to lose our life and we will find it. P our out love to others and your loneliness will disappear.
2. Develop a genuine concern for others. Keep a prayer list. Seek God’s help in the lives of those for whom you care. It is quite amazing what happens to the feeling of loneliness when you pray for others.
3. Extend sympathy. Give encouragement and understanding. A lot of our loneliness is due to self-centeredness. An interest in others works wonders.
4. Practice happiness and contentment. Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “I find that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Develop your own storehouse of pleasant thoughts and memories. Let them crowd out your loneliness.
5. Go to church. The warmest fellowship in the world is to be found in the church. There you will be valued, wanted and loved.
6. Look up. An unknown author has written, “Two men looked through prison bars. The one saw mud, the other stars.” It is tragic that the majority of us see only mud, whereas we might, by looking up, see stars.
7. This above all, keep close to Christ. He speaks to us all— the least, the last, the lost and the lonely: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.