It strikes me as 'odd' because most of them are the Social Lights of the party. They have wonderful personalities and charming dispositions. They are caring, honest, and great people.
But they are all so lonely!
I do think a big part of it is due to the technological age we live in and how social media should be renamed to antisocial media. (seriously, everyone is in a room on an iphone not looking at each other or interacting. They're goofing off with a gadget. Thats not social, people.) But enough I think has been written by others with more statistics and studies on THAT subject so I won't go on the rant here.
Another problem I believe is the aura we've placed around being a Believer, or being a person in Ministry. It never ceases to amaze me the reverence some laypeople treat me with. Women who are 50 years my senior treat me with some sort of reverence I would expect to find in a fairy tale where I was a great Lady and these people the townspeople or serfs. Its kinda awesome in the moment, but if I need anything or am having a bad day, its totally inapropriate. I'm the Church Staff person. I am no longer allowed to bleed red. Or have emotions other than Wise. MAAAAYBE happy.
Its something I struggle against because it taps into all my old issues coming from a stoic german background, but I've noticed a lot of my Sisters in Christ aren't fighting to maintain their humanity, they are allowing it to be taken from them. Why? In the name of 'Glorifying Christ,' 'Not burdening others,' 'keeping their Testimony authentic,' etc etc and so forth. There's a myriad of reasons. Personally I think we could boil it down to the simple fact of Pride but that might be stepping on too many toes (smiley face)
Another thing I've noticed is the lack of social gatherings and parties. No one (in the Christian world at least) throws just fun PARTIES. And if someone does, very few people show up. You have to court people to get them to come to a social gathering. In the times of my grandmothers, and even my parents, dinner parties were common! And yes they brought kids to such things or they hired a babysitter (thats another rant for another day: what on earth is with these snobby youth of today not being willing ot make an extra buck when it comes to babysitting?!?! Parents! Make your kid work for their gadgets and overpriced jeans and make them work!! Yeesh!). Why are we so unsocial? Well I think its partly because when I say 'party' most people's minds jump to one of those evil orgies that involve Alkeehowl (alcohol). They think 'cocktail party.'
On the flip side of that, if I'm amongst less staunch, tight laced folks and I say 'I'm throwing a party,' they want to know if its cocktails or just beer.
The concept of just gathering together simply to enjoy one another seems to be an endangered species; at least in my social circles. If we gather together there must be a REASON for doing so; such as a Bible study.
Another reason might be because we have unintentionally acquired through osmosis the concept that 'friends are supportive no matter what.' However its hard or impossible to 'support' certain mistakes or things those we socialize with are doing. There is no longer a cultural prescription for how to handle such instances with tact or grace. I don't know that there ever was a fully functional method in our culture to begin with but there isn't ANYTHING at this point other than either supporting something and compromising our personal integrity OR avoiding the person altogether and losing a friend to maintain what we perceive is our integrity. I'm guilty of it myself. The concept of 'agreeing to disagree and we'll not kick each other off the Christmas Card List' is another endangered species.
Now I'm not a doomsday-ist (very very proactively I might say) so I'm not going to project what dismal crisis is looming on the horizon if these endangered species of Social graces become extinct. I will, however, ask us to examine the current results of such omissions from society.
Everyone is lonely.
Now you may be thinking, 'Excuse me. I am NOT lonely. I am perfectly content, thank you.' And if so you are either
1. incredibly blessed
2. in denial
3. one of those horrible introverts that I envy and despise all at once.
If you are the third than I thank you most graciously for reading this blog but as a social butterfly I really have no clue what to do with you but tip my hat to you.
If you are the first two, however, I strongly encourage you to:
DO something about it.
You may not be painfully lonely, but others are. 'Well I don't know anyone who is painfully lonely." you may be thinking. To which I say, 'Yes you do. You just haven't realized that they are in that condition yet."
We are the most benevolently apathetic society I can think of today. We buy shoes that donate a second pair to a shoeless child in Africa, purchase coffee that is from a company that fights human trafficking, write portions of our checks to whatever large-eyed-animal-or-child-commercial caught our fancy on television that night. But we can't look the checker at the grocery store in the eye or ask them how their day went!
Have you ever tried that, by the way? Next time you go to a grocery store, don't go to the self-checkout counter. Go to one with a human being operating it. They will routinely ask you how your day is; they have to its company policy. Answer your rote answer but this time ask them how they are doing. They will give you a scripted answer of 'fine thanks.' But this time instead of nodding and awkwardly playing with your keychain, ask them WHY their day is good. Or ask them what their nearest holiday or weekend plans are. You'll get a double-take, I guarantee it.
Write cards to your friends or send them cheerful texts saying you're thinking of them.
Be bold in your conversations with your friends! I was skyping my old roomate this morning and she was giving me the usual 'update' about which boy looked at her crossways and which crush she's currently trying to get over, and I had an epiphany. I prayed quickly and then was very bold and cheerfully said, "Hey can I offer you an observation? I just realized you've never gotten over your old boyfriend from 6 years ago, and thats why you're having such a hard time with relationships now."
Dead silence for a minute, in which I silently panicked and shook my fist at the Creator and said, 'Look what you made me do!!"
and then my friend said, 'You're right. I never thought about that. I just can't believe my old boyfriend treated me the way that he did, and I never want to go through that again with another guy.'
I had another epiphany and said, "So you're comparing any guy you currently like to that other guy, which is why you talk yourself out of ever getting involved?"
"Have you prayed about that?"
We then talked for 45 minutes about seeking the Lord's forgiveness and Healing, Fasting, the importance of one's Calling as either a married person or a single person, silencing the voices of worldly or satanic distraction, and the importance of accountability. She cried and I chocked up. It was awesome. It was weird. It was vulnerable.
I didn't plan it, I shocked myself at the insights I was able to offer, and I'm certainly NO relationship expert. But I took a risk and I trusted God.
We don't really do that anymore in the Church in America. Why not? What are we so afraid of?
This Valentines Day weekend, instead of moping around about your singleness, or getting mad at your significant other for not making the perfect Romantic getaway, or fuming about what a stupid holiday this is, why don't you ask God to give you an opportunity to bless someone's socks off. Ask Him to show you a lonely person who is hurting who you can bless. Start small if you want to: ask Him to show you someone who just needs a Smile. Does the waitress need a smile when you get the check?
The way to change a society and a culture is through one interaction at a time. Start making your interactions Heaven-filled today! And lets fight to save the Endangered Species of society! The world is lonely. We Christians have the answer. Lets live it and give it!!