Three friends stranded on a deserted island find a magic lamp. Inside it is a genie who agrees to grant each friend one wish.
“I want to go home,” says the first friend. The genie grants her wish.
“I want to go home, too,” says the second friend. And the genie sends her back home.
“I’m lonely,” says the third friend. “I sure wish my friends were back here.”

We’ve been sitting with the reality that isolation is an issue.  Half of the Wismers are exhibiting a bit of unbecoming behavior… even though we have chosen to stay distant and more isolated from others, we’re feeling kind of like being stranded on a deserted island.

Interestingly, the word isolated comes from the Latin insulatus which means “made into an island.”  We realize that for many it feels like being stranded on a deserted island.  The impacts of isolation have negative effects on our souls.  We cannot trick ourselves into thinking that is not the case.

Not to be intrusive but how are you sleeping? Has your diet changed?  How is your concentration?  How is your worry scale? Are you screaming at the TV more than usual?  Seriously, with a score of one (1) being not good at all and a score of ten (10) being prefect – How do you score yourself?  How are you doing?

We’re not therapists (but we know some very good ones) nor are we scientists but we’ve observed an “emotional loneliness” that comes from individual social isolation and the missing of intimate relationships. Also there is “social loneliness” which is missing a wider social network – like the Choir, the Kerygma Bible Study, JOY Company, Book Club, PW, Men’s Breakfast group or Youth Group.  With a score of one (1) being not good at all and a score of ten (10) being prefect – What is your loneliness score?  Here are a few suggestions to counter the impacts of loneliness.  Distract yourself.  Maintain a schedule. Move your body.  Do a meaningful thing.  Hand write letters (perhaps to your favorite pastor.) Engage in a project. Binged watch a TV series and always be kind to yourself.  Trust yourself and if you need to talk with someone who is professionally trained reach out or let us know and we’ll get you connected.

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:22-25 
… let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…

Reflection Questions:
What lights you up?
Who is meaningful to you?
Do you need/want to talk with a professional?

Holy God, as I journey in this valley keep my heart filled with the assurance that you are near and when I waver encourage me through the presence of others.  I hold fast to your promise that I am not alone.  Amen.

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