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Crowds of people may not ease the pain of feeling alone, but understanding that we are inseparable from our creator, God, can actually heal loneliness.
In his book Love and Conflict, the prominent clergyman and educator Gibson Winter speaks of the excessive loneliness that is created by the sort of society in which many people live today, a society largely of the city. He writes: "... It is one thing to be alone in order to be quiet and recollect oneself. This is creative aloneness. ... On the other hand, there is a kind of loneliness which comes from being isolated. ... It is the estrangement of the isolated person who moves anonymously in the midst of crowds." Love and Conflict: New Patterns in Family Life (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1958), p. 180 . This question of loneliness, the pangs of separation from others, of being cut off from friends and family, needs to be addressed from a spiritual perspective. It's important to approach the subject with the compassion and spiritual understanding that can actually lift individual lives out of these sad states of isolation and estrangement.
Most of us are probably inclined to identify loneliness in our personal lives as simply the case of being separated from other persons. But the very fact that it is sometimes most keenly felt right in the midst of groups or crowds, and that it has often been resolved quite independently of personal companionship, shows that the challenge is not so simple. Essentially, loneliness can be attributed to the underlying view that man is mortal—that he is separated from God and from God's purpose for him.
Marceil Ruth DeLacy
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Virginia Crebbin with contributions from Philip Crebbin
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Phyllis M. Hedge with contributions from Frank S. Hedge
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C. Margaret Brennan
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JOHN H. HOAGLAND