Saturday, November 28, 2015

When Life Leaves You Alone

The company I work for is amazing. While my wife tells me stories of her work environment and its "strictly business" policies, the company I work for is more like family to me. People end up working there for long periods of time. At this year's Christmas party we will celebrate work anniversaries of 35, 40 and even 45 years!

One of the cool things our particulate department does is it allows retired workers to come in and spend time in the office, after they no longer work for the company. That's really cool. When you've worked some place for a long time your work mates become more like family members than anything else. You miss them when they are gone.

Recently, one of our retirees came back in to the office. I usually see him in the mornings. He checks his e-mail and does some personal Internet research. He also recently lost his long-time wife to cancer. He is really struggling right now because . . . he is alone.

He has a photograph album, filled with pictures of he and his wife. He misses her greatly. Too much I fear. In one of our conversations he has even mentioned things like, "what's the point in going on?" He has attended grief counseling sessions, has listened to caring relatives and friends. Nothing seems to heal his broken heart. It is really sad to see.

So what do we do when we lose someone who is near and dear to us? A spouse, a friend, a relative? How do we cope with such a loss? And how do we find meaning in life after a devastating loss? The only answer I can come up with is . . . Jesus.

I have tried talking to my friend about Jesus - His ability to heal broke hearts, His offer to help us carry our burdens, His offer of peace and rest and His incredible love for us . . . but my friend is still not sure. He says he is on a "different path."

For a Christ follower it can be very difficult when people refuse to hear the Gospel or ignore it all together. We ourselves know Jesus is exactly what they need but we cannot force someone to believe. Free will. And so we pray, we love, we encourage and we support them as much as we can. And most importantly, we must never give up in that effort.

My friend's name is Bob. I invite you to pray for him and others like him who have gone through a major loss. We are to be Christ to all people but especially to the widow and the orphan - people groups who have all suffered loss.

Do you have someone in your life who has suffered a major loss? I think we all know someone like that. This is a tough time of year for them. Family celebrations and get togethers. It can be a sad time for someone who has no one to get together with. My friend Bob actually left town for Thanksgiving because he did want to be with family. "Too many memories," he said.

Loneliness can be a devastating condition in which to live. That's why I recommend taking steps to prevent it.
  • Fight it. Instead of isolating one's self from others, embrace every opportunity to interact with others. Talk with someone. Go to a church.
  • Embrace it. When attending family events that might contain too many memories, EMBRACE the opportunity and share those memories with one another.
  • Use It. There are others who are missing people in this world. Knowing their pain and having compassion for others can liberate you from the very pain that ensnares you.
  • Lose it.  Loneliness can lead to self-destructive behavior. Get rid of it by refusing to visit dark thoughts.
  • Change it. Someone has promised to never leave you or forsake you. His name is Jesus. Seek Him. Talk to Him.
No one should feel alone in a world containing so many people. Reach out to someone. With just a little effort it is possible to escape the emptiness. You are worth far more than you think you might be. Join in a conversation with someone. Take someone to church. Invite someone out for a meal. You may find that in making an effort you could change someone's life . . . forever.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” - John 14:18-21

Only The Lonely - Roy Orbison
Only The Lonely - The Motels

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