Simon Smart reflects on the ever growing issue of loneliness. A recent Telstra and YouGov report reveals that 40% of Australians experience isolation. The pandemic certainly brought this to our attention, although it is not a new phenomenon, despite our increasing technological connectivity. It is a concern that loneliness can reduce a person's lifespan by as much as 15 years! Smart writes...
"A modern Westerner faces a complex paradox to navigate. On the one hand, we have come to elevate the individual to the ultimate position, and alongside that we’ve adopted a narrow definition of “freedom” that revolves around unlimited choice. On the other hand, we are lonely and crave what only community can offer us. The problem is true community is costly. It’s hard work and inconvenient and involves time and selflessness and care for people we might otherwise choose not to be around. It’s where we learn patience and kindness and humility and hospitality. It’s where we can be a support to others while they support us. Sporting clubs and book groups and various associations — gatherings of like-minded people — offer some of these qualities for sure.
Might faith communities have something surprising and unique to offer us as we seek relationships of depth and meaning? As we seek connection?"
Image: Photo by Traworld Official on Unsplash