Has not it happened to you that, although you are surrounded by people, you feel lonely? This feeling is heightened if your husband works long hours and hasn’t nurtured communication, if you’re single or divorced or a housewife with small children. It seems that in a sea of people in the street, the supermarket or the family party, nobody understands what happens to us. Could it be depression?
In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks develops the character of a shipwrecked survivor who arrived on an uninhabited island where he endured loneliness for many months, years. We saw many scenes where he was close to lose his mind and enter hopelessness only seizing his imagination to overcome each day. Which is also the solution this world offers: use your imagination, keep your mind occupied! But you know what, such a solution hides loneliness deeper and it keeps growing underneath until it becomes unbearable, which can lead to hopelessness, depression and even suicide. It’s for a reason it is considered among the top 10 causes of suicide. A preventable condition!
Can we back away from loneliness? Not necessarily. Some synonyms of the word loneliness are isolation, desertedness, sadness, or melancholy. In the Bible, David exposes his feeling to God: “I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert!” (Psalm 102: 6). His loneliness clouded his understanding, especially when he had to remain still and hidden since Saul pursued him to kill him. You know, pelicans are birds that do not frequent humans, live on the coasts or uninhabited land like swamps; they are large, slow-flying birds. They spend hours stationary after eating to digest their food. On the other hand, owls are small and fast, hide from predators during the day, hunt at night. They spend hours, from their hiding place in the branches, scrutinizing with their extraordinary visual sense everything that is happening in their environment to hunt.
Loneliness, after all, is not a curse. Sometimes it is necessary to regain strength, to scrutinize our environment, to digest what is happening around us and to understand that God wants us to learn something important, he wants us to listen to his voice, wait on Him, even if we do not understand. For the psalmist later acknowledges in Psalm 103: 1-4 that it is only God who blesses our souls, forgives our offenses, heals our wounds, rescues us from the pit, crowns us with favor and grace. “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103: 5). The eagle is a large bird, who can live up to 70 years, but in the middle of his life, goes through a painful process of several months of renovation. After this renovation, it takes flight and live several decades more.
What do we learn from David and these three birds? When we feel those times of loneliness: let us be quiet, let us search our surroundings to recognize what God wants by praying at all times. At the end of the process, God will give us strength, we will see the fruits and we will fly like eagles, towards the destiny that God has for us in this world.