It’s March already. The busyness and excitement of the holiday period is now just a memory of good times amongst crowds at the fireworks, beach, cricket and The Canopy.
And yet not everyone in a crowd is necessarily happy. The late comedian Robin Williams is quoted as saying “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not! The worst thing is to end up with people who make you feel alone’’.
Many people believe that loneliness can never happened to them but in reality it is part of life. Being lonely from time to time is OK but persistent loneliness is a concern.
Loneliness and social isolation had a significant impact on people in both Australia and globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. New research shows that the health and social consequences of the pandemic will be felt for many years to come so now is the time to act to accelerate social recovery and build the strength of community.
The Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy is a member of Ending Loneliness Together – an Australia-wide organisation which aspires to address loneliness through both research and action. It holds the Vision ‘’imagine a world where everyone feels a sense of connection and belonging’’. What a fantastic aspiration!
The impact of loneliness is not restricted to particular age groups, gender or vocation. Those who suffer from the sense of loneliness often do so in silence – there-by deepening their sense of despair.
Phil McAullife [www.thelonelydiplomat.com], suffers from a sense of loneliness. He observes ‘’people do not know how to respond to someone who says they are lonely – typically they offer platitudes and then adopt distancing behaviours’’.
The activities of the Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy provide safe and supportive ways to offer friendship and connection. Community groups, especially those offering the involvement and engagement of volunteers, present an opportunity for the lonely person. However, joining a new group activity can be daunting and requires courage and persistence.
Let’s do all we can to look after one another. A friendly smile and greeting can be both therapeutic and maybe the start of a new relationship. Make a personal commitment to invite new people to your activity as together we strive to build and sustain a resilient, supportive and respectful community.
To learn more about Ending Loneliness Together, or if you are looking for someone to chat with, make contact with the Chaplaincy team.
Peter and the Chaplaincy team
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.