Recently, I had the honor to visit a parishioner at their home. It was a gift to catch up, talk story, and encourage one another’s faith. During our conversation my friend expressed their concern for elders in our community.
My friend felt deep compassion for elders in our community that don’t feel comfortable reaching out, or who don’t know how to reach out. Elders, particularly those who live alone, may be dealing with social networks that have faded due to death, retirement, or relocation. The disconnect brought about by COVID and compounded by the time apart have created an environment for isolation and loneliness.
My friend’s worry was that longstanding cultural messages about being “strong and independent” only make it harder for kupuna to reach out. If one has lived a lifetime with the idea that we aren’t to burden others, appear needy, or be weak then what is one to do when in need of genuine human connection?
It takes great strength to reach out. It takes faith to name one’s need for connection. The truth of the matter is that all of us are in great need to connect with someone. We need to see the light of life in another’s eyes and we need to have that divine spark within us seen. We need to be hear another’s voice and have ours acknowledged. From the very beginning, in the book of Genesis, we were created to be in community with one another. We were created in the image of God. The Holy Trinity is inherently communal in nature. Somewhere along the way we lost the truth. The drum beat of rugged individualism, a “stiff upper lip” and “never let them see you sweat” mentality taught us to only trust ourselves and that others are a potential threat (instead of a divinely ordained blessing).
Friend, if loneliness or isolation are resting heavy upon you. Please reach out to Pastor Mary or I. We’d be honored to connect with you, pray with you, or simply swing by and talk story.
Church Office: 808-941-0957
Pastor Mary: Mary-Herbig@centralunionchurch.org
Pastor Brandon: Brandon-Duran@centralunionchurch.org
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11