Think of it this way . . .
“Language has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” — Paul Tillich
As of February, 2019 there were 7.7 billion people living all over this world…and yet ISOLATION is a growing health concern, epidemic by some studies. It’s estimated that 8 million adults who are 50 and older are affected by this crippling malady. Studies have found that the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Being social creatures by nature, this is sad news and kind of makes us who are confirmed recluses (if only in heart) feel a little guilty.
We need to understand, though, that isolation and loneliness are not the same thing. There can even by a significant difference between being lonely and simply being alone. Some “alone time” can be welcomingly helpful – even rejuvenating, but being too lonely too long can be debilitating. It’s more than just being alone and feeling very lonely at the moment. Isolation comes as a result of feeling detached physically and/or psychologically, or at least not being properly connected to support from family, friends, or community.
And, whereas the author, Austen, writes, “My spirits will not bear solitude, I must have employment and society,” Wordsworth speaks of “the bliss of solitude.” Then there is A. C. Benson who prefers “to have the choice of society and solitude alike.” Consider Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” So, get out there and relate for heaven’s sake!