4 • Psalm 102:7—“I lie awake, and am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.” • Psalm 31:11—“I am a reproach among all my enemies,but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me.” Both Job and the apostle Paul felt the sting of loneliness. Job cried out: “All my close friends abhor me,and those whom I love have turned against me” (Job 19:19). Paul wrote: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me” (2 Timothy 4:16). With His betrayal by friends, arrest by the Jewish leaders and crucifixion by the Romans, Jesus felt deeply the pain of loneliness. He literally screamed His pain aloud: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Likewise, many contemporaries have experienced the pang of loneliness. The great composer Peter Tchaikovsky wrote: “None but the lonely heart can feel my anguish.” Henry David Thoreau lamented: “It would give me such joy to know that a friend had come to see me, and yet that pleasure I seldom if ever experience.”
5 2 Reach Out and Touch Someone Work at your friendships. You can develop a circle of friends at any stage in life. Of course, developing friendships means making the time to connect with others. “A lot of people, if they think honestly, really are selfish with their time,” says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at the University of Washington. “When somebody says, ‘Why isn’t anyone there for me?’ I have to ask, ‘Well, what have you done to deserve a friend?’” Even though you may be very busy with work, family and civic responsibilities, make the time to cultivate friendships. Keep in mind that the best way to have a friend is to first be a friend. Try to become what you want to attract. Be the kind of person you would want to surround yourself with. 3 Have an Honest Look at Yourself If your circle of meaningful friendships has shrunk over the past months, take an emotional inventory of yourself. Ask yourself if you have become too: • Self-absorbed—overbearing, boring, uninterested in others, their lives and activities.