Saturday Symposium: Community and Loneliness

Hello everyone! It’s great to be enjoying another weekend with you all. We hope that your summer-to-fall transitions are going well (unless, of course, you’re in the Southern hemisphere and are transitioning from winter to spring. We always enjoy the new life of the spring season).

Here’s our new Saturday Symposium question:

How this works: It’s very simple. We ask a multi-part question related to a topic we’ve blogged about during the past week or are considering blogging about in the near future, and you, our readers, share your responses in the comments section. Feel free to be open, reflective, and vulnerable…and to challenge us. But as always, be mindful of the comment policy that ends each of our posts. Usually, we respond fairly quickly to each comment, but in order to give you time to think, come back, add more later if you want, and discuss with other readers, we will wait until after Monday to respond to comments on Saturday Symposium questions.

This week’s Saturday Symposium question: Many people associate living celibacy with dealing with loneliness. The Guardian recently reported on how loneliness can be characterized by loss and transition. Without community involvement, many people who are socially isolated and in need of support can go unnoticed. Therefore, we’d like to ask: When do you know that another person is lonely? What roles do transition and loss have in increasing the likelihood that a person might be lonely? How can a community support a lonely person? How can a lonely person find supportive communities? Are there ways to transition and grieve that create meaningful connections for people?   

We look forward to reading your responses. If you’re concerned about having your comment publicly associated with your name, please consider using the Contact Us page to submit your comment. We can post it under a pseudonym (i.e. John says, “your comment”) or summarize your comment in our own words (i.e. One person observed…). Participating in this kind of public dialogue can be risky, and we want to do what we can to protect you even if that means we preserve your anonymity. Have a wonderful weekend!


Sarah and Lindsey

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Symposium: Community and Loneliness

  1. People don’t always realize that having others around does not cure loneliness. I grew up extremely lonely and isolated, despite living with my mom, stepdad, and various combinations of my nine brothers and sisters. The problem was that my stepfather was emotionally abusive and my mom was completely absent and detached. As a stay-at-home mom, she was physically present, but I don’t think I had a meaningful connection with her until 3-4 years ago. (Things are so much better now:)

    I was just reading yesterday about something called “cuddle parties” – groups of people literally get together and just connect physically with each other in a non-sexual way. It made me realize how hungry I am for loving touch and how little opportunity I have to get it. You can’t just lay on a friend’s lap while watching a movie, and a church side-hug once in a while doesn’t cut it.

    But of course, again, going to one of those parties wouldn’t solve my problem. The emotional connection would be lacking. Just being in a room full of people is not what humans really crave – that’s why cities are the loneliest places to live.

    I wish I had answers to any of the questions you posed, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do this whole “human connection” thing at all. It’s hard, but as I’ve discovered, very worth it!

  2. I don’t think anyone has any idea how lonely I am because I have so many friends. I long to be in community with other people deeply seeking a celibate calling but since I don’t belong to a Christian Tradition that has religious orders it is quite an anomaly. All the other single women seem to be waiting around for someone to pick them as a potential romantic partner. Everyone I know is either waited down with family concerns or is desperately longing to have family concerns. I believe my loneliness comes from not being fully known because I don’t feel comfortable sharing what I am going through. As I discern a celibate vocation I desperately long for sojourners on this same path. I’m seriously exploring another tradition that does have religious orders in the hopes of finding more people like me.

Leave a Reply