Last week we talked about loneliness as an epidemic that takes over our lives, impacts our relationships, families and well-being. We recognized that it is of paramount importance for us as a community of faith to act and minister to those most vulnerable to loneliness. Today, I would like us to reflect and think about the cause of loneliness in our lives.
Many of us read Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe. Those, who like me grew up and lived in Soviet Union, undoubtedly read the novel during their school years. However, I have to disappoint you because what we believed to be the actual work, was in fact the censored version. The Soviet censorship made sure to remove any trace of faith and God from the novel. However, in the original version faith plays an important role. Stranded on an uninhabited island, Robinson Crusoe not only had to survive physically, but also had to find a way to cope with loneliness for twenty-eight years until the day when he was finally rescued. And though he was not particularly a religious man, early in the novel we already see a transformation and find him increasingly recalling and referring to God. Then, one day he realizes that one of the items he recovered from the shipwreck was a Holy Bible. There starts Robinson Crusoe’s amazing journey to faith through the daily reading of the Bible. Soon he discovers that he is not really alone. Though abandoned and forgotten, God is with him on that lonely and hopeless island. Faith fills the dark abyss of loneliness of his life, gives him hope, a reason to live, to fight back and survive.
It is astonishing that loneliness was the first problem humanity encountered while in Paradise. It was the only ‘imperfection’ in otherwise perfect creation that needed adjustment and modification by God. It is equally important to note that it was God, who recognized the loneliness of Adam first when He said, “it is not good for a man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). God lifted the fog of loneliness from Adam’s life by giving him a partner, a friend – Eve.
Adam and Eve did not simply have each other, but also God, whose presence filled every aspect of their lives and the Garden of Eden. This garden is not called paradise for its exotic vegetations and animal species of astonishing beauty, but because everything and everyone in it was filled with the living, breathing and tangible presence of God. There was no anxiety, depression, sadness, fear or loneliness because humanity was fully present in the Creator and He was present in then.
Yes, we come to this world alone, often travel through it alone and certainly leave the world alone. But our very existence and ability to experience life fully depends and relies on our relationship with the Creator. We have been created to live in communion with God. We can never be fully human without the presence of God in our lives. Whether we can feel it or not, comprehend and believe in it or not, the presence of the loving God is all around us, ready to fill us, strengthen, sustain us and dispel all loneliness from our hearts.
When it comes to loneliness, Christ is the Crisis. The absence of his life-giving and restoring presence in our lives is the primary reason for human loneliness. Our souls imprisoned in the dark dungeon of loneliness crave and cry for a living relationship with the Creator. Our faith in Christ crucified and resurrected transforms our very experience of life, how we see and feel the world around us, it makes us whole, repels and eliminates all loneliness from our lives and fills us with his life-giving presence.