If someone would ask me what is the greatest fear of our generation I think I would say “loneliness”
Older people are afraid of being forgotten and left alone.
Younger people fill their lives with social media constantly needing the “fix” of “likes” and the attention of others. They daren’t miss out even for a few hours.
So many in the middle tell me they are lonely in their relationship or marriage. Other feel isolated and alone in a marriage.
And those fighting through sickness, disability, poverty, mental illness all fear being shunned ignored or marginalized
In the light of this, the season of Lent, which starts of ash Wednesday 6th March this year, can be a real challenge to us.
Jesus took 40 days to go into a lonely hostile environment, alone and apart from human interaction. It might seem a strange thing for him to do when his message was otherwise constantly focussed on the need to love one another and to engage with those around us. He experienced real loneliness, even went without food so could not even comfort eat or take a glass of wine to ease the feelings.
Often we have reduced the season lent to simply giving up chocolate or alcohol or skipping the occasional mean. But those Christians who made time to draw apart. Even giving up social media for 40 days can feel strong temptations and inner pain when the loneliness bites.
But many bear witness that going through those lonely times, without the props and supports we usually depend on, can bring on a spiritual re-awakening and a new way of engaging those around us that is no longer driven by neediness insecurity and the need to be reassured we are loved. Instead like Jesus, we can go back into the world strong centered and independent and ready to give ..
Anyone fancy a trip into the wilderness this spring?