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Only the Lonely
Photo: Loretta Humble
In an essay for The New Republic about the consequences of loneliness for public health, Judith Shulevitz reports that one in three Americans over 45 identifies as chronically lonely, up from just one in five a decade ago. “With baby boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day,” she notes, “the number of lonely Americans will surely spike.” 1 

For a person who actually enjoys being alone, it’s difficult to comprehend those statistics. Oh, I’ve been lonely before, but it usually passes quickly and because I still work outside the home, live near children and grandchildren and regularly attend church, there’s not much time left to feel lonely.

But I’m now facing new life passages. I’m retiring, moving a thousand miles away, and changing churches. I’m leaving behind people I know and love, vistas I enjoy, the zoo, the art museum, the Arch, my livelihood and my son and his family. I’ll find a new church, get a new part-time job, and enjoy being with my daughter and her family. It’s exhilarating in one way to forge a new path, but also scary and I will probably be lonely at times.

Immense Kindness and Faithfulness

Songwriter Matt Redman had a similar experience to mine, having moved his family from their home in the UK to Atlanta for two years to plant a church and then move back home. “Transition is always tough and I was thinking through the journey of the last few years — all the joys and struggles. I had a very real sense of God’s immense kindness and faithfulness over every page of my life,” Redman says. This is the song that came out of that experience.

Never Once

Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone

Carried by Your constant grace

Held within Your perfect peace

Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful, God, You are faithful 2

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

1. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113176/science-loneliness-how-isolation-can-kill-you
2 http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=23558

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