Posts tagged " loneliness "

Of Carob Trees and Loneliness

December 13th, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 3 comments

A story from ancient Jewish wisdom tells of a traveller who came across an elderly man planting a carob tree. Since carob trees can take more than twenty years to bear fruit, the passer-by suggested that the man’s work was pointless; he would no longer be there to enjoy the tree’s fruit. The older man responded that he was not planting for himself but for his descendants. Though he might not be a direct beneficiary, generations to come would appreciate his work.

I rarely hear concerns anymore about saddling our children with gargantuan national debt. Not only is the number incomprehensibly  enormous, but our universe as it relates to time has shrunk. Through ways both overt and subtle, our culture encourages us to live in the moment, and to elevate the fleeting over the long-lasting.

Two newspaper reports I read this week were not meant to be commentaries on each other, yet it is worthwhile to juxtapose them. One described how, as the baby-boomer generation ages, its members are more likely to be alone than the generations before them. Freedom not to marry, to divorce, to have few or no children seems far less promising to a lonely seventy-year-old than it did to a self-centered thirty-something.

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Only the Lonely

March 5th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 30 comments

1999:  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were described as loners…

2007:  At Virginia Tech, Cho Seung-Hui presented a chilling portrait of a 23-year-old loner

2010:   The man accused of shooting two children at a Carlsbad elementary school was described by neighbors Saturday as a loner…

2011:  Brazilian school shooter, Menezes de Oliveira, described as a loner…

2012:  Adam Lanza was a quiet, withdrawn loner…

2012:  The alleged shooter, TJ Lane, was described by Chardon High School classmates as a loner…

2018:   Classmates, relatives and neighbors have described Cruz as a loner…

The above direct quotes from news coverage of different school shootings share only one feature—loner.  I discussed my analysis of the Parkland school shooting on my podcast here. In this Thought Tool, I present to you something quite different. 

God created a world dependent upon connection.   Words, musical notes, and even the chemical elements of the periodic table all must connect before they are useful to humans.  Most importantly, we God’s children were created to connect.  Connectedness is necessary for our own sense of identity.  Loneliness is painful partially because it alienates us from ourselves.  Admittedly, killing other people is an extreme and thankfully rare response to excruciating loneliness.  Nonetheless, while most of us do not react violently to the pain of disconnectedness, we still suffer. 

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Encouraging Loneliness

September 13th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

A headline from the Wall Street  Journal, “Innovation in Health Care” report reads: Government Role in Fighting Loneliness. More accurate would be: Government Role Over the Years in Causing Loneliness. So many government policies have been factors in breaking up families, reducing the need for belonging to churches and social groups, and making people think that they can “make it on their own” (with government assistance) rather than needing human support and connection. Before spending taxpayer money to combat loneliness maybe we could just roll back all sorts of government innovations that increased it.

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