Tag Archives: alone

Lost in the crowd

scooter-lady1How do we become “invisible” to others?

It’s an odd thing that people can be present, yet invisible, here, yet absent.  I saw this at the local city Arts Festival over the weekend.  There were many people out and about, having a good time with the music, the beer, the food, the rides, and all that goes along with a carnival-like setting.

One very frail lady came carting across the boulevard on her scooter, alone, hoisting the American flag along the way.  As she worked her way up the street, weaving in and out of folks and exhibits, I realized she would probably go home without a people connection.  She was visible-but-invisible.  Maybe, she likes it this way, but I wonder?   Was she unseen because of a health condition, because of age, because of her lack of friends or family to accompany?  Where does she call “home”?  Does she like being alone this way, or would she rather have companionship at the festival?

"Lost in the crowd"

Don’t know.  I do know that, as she and that scooter made a gradual, meandering path up the boulevard, her solitary figure became swallowed in a crowd of people!  I sometimes feel that way – “lost in the crowd”How about you?

Sometimes, we come to the realization that, but for the grace and presence of God, we might be “alone”!  Those are sobering moments when we realize how vital people connections – relationships, friendships – serve our need for community.  Facebook users, bloggers, and social media types feel the need, or we wouldn’t spend the time in this odd new world of online connections!

“Lost in the crowd” still happens when people don’t see us, “Like” us, comment on us, appreciate the things, the photos, the thoughts we post.  It’s a new kind of “lostness” – people feeling alone when people they can’t even see don’t acknowledge them in a socially constructed “other world”.  We needn’t be elderly, frail, impaired, or whatever other condition, to find ourselves without connections, and that “invisible” feeling creeps in!

God never intended for people to live in this kind of isolation.  From the teachings of Scripture we can see the LORD, the creator of heaven and earth, the Source of life and breath …

  • Sets the solitary in families.
  • Commands that we honor our father and mother.
  • Requires special attention “to the widows and the orphans”.
  • Expects welcome to the strangers in our midst.
  • Breaks down walls of partition between people groups (affinity, nationality, ethnic, race, gender, religion – whatever!)
  • Makes the way for fellowship and community at the deepest levels.

Jesus’ own life, death, and resurrection show us how connections work!  God has a wondrous purpose in weaving our lives together!

In this blog entry today, I speak to myself, and to anyone who might stumble upon it …

  • You are blessed with people and connections (you may have to find and build them!) to experience abundant life!
  • You are the blessed connection to someone – maybe, many people! – to bring life and to share life with them!
  • You are not lost in the crowd from the vantage point of the One who created you and calls you into such a rich and lasting communion.

Seek and fulfill those connections in your path that will bring life today!

Stuart Swann

John 10:10 – “I came that they (YOU!) may have life, and have it abundantly.”

2 Corinthians 13:14 – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”


Solitude, aloneness, and loneliness

island-lighthouseI need people.  No, I don’t need people!

You know, sometimes, I like to be lost in the fray of activity, the swirl of things-going-on, the hub of “what’s happening now” … people, busyness, events, and all the things we do to be connected in this social world.

Then, there is that time of retreat, of separateness from all that is “other”.  What about “ME”?  I just want my own thoughts, my own space and schedule, and no expectations to be anything other than just myself.  After awhile, that gets incredibly boring (being alone with myself), and the whole engagement/detachment cycle starts over again!

Do you ever think something like, “Where in the world am I in the midst of all this?” or “What is my place in the world?”

The ways I respond to solitude, aloneness, and loneliness make a great difference in my ability to re-engage with others.  It might be just an hour of down-time, or it might be the evening, or it could be a prolonged period.  Some busy parents never seem to have that moment!  Other people can have too much time on their hands (so, they become bloggers?!).  Sometimes in life, though, each of us has to face the feeling of being “alone”.

Is it good, or is it bad?  Well, I guess that has a lot to do with how we approach it.  These times remind me of priorities and focus; I have the chance through solitude to re-calibrate my purpose and direction.  Most of all, these times – be they brief or prolonged – allow me the opportunity to commune with God who loves me and calls me by name.  In these quiet and separate times I find myself both comforted and discomforted:  comforted to know that I am never really alone, discomforted to realize my existence is so interwoven with relationships – I’d better pay attention to them!

Where does detachment lead you in your thoughts and feelings?  Does it invite you into prayer, insight, and action, or does it head into a sense of lonely desperation?  Does being separate from the swirl of human activity make you pensive and creative, or do you become fidgety and anxious?  I’m familiar with these responses.  I try to let them remind me to draw renewal from the well of life.  There, at the well, is communion with my Creator, my Savior, and my Sustainer.  I unite again with the Lord of Life before returning to the interactions and tasks of being a social being – BEING FULLY HUMAN!

It really isn’t “Me, against the world!”  Instead, “What can ‘Me’ do … in … and for … and with ‘the world’?  What can ‘Me’ be in that place and with the people whom God invites me to share in this gift of existence?!”

I need people.  No, I don’t need people!  Who am I kidding? … I need people, and people need me!  You need people, and people need you!

Stuart Swann

Jesus taught …  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  (Mark 12:30-31, KJV)