Our Lady of Tenderness!

The Darkness of Loneliness

Today there was a mental health professional talking about the affects of the pandemic, and he commented: “Mental illness is increasing, largely as a result of loneliness and isolation.”

Loneliness is resulting from a sense of being isolated from others, being with a sense of no contact with a fellow human being, but what is becoming more and more obvious is the effects of our cell phones, social media, texting and the playing of games on the phone. These have isolated us, put a hole in our care for on another.

In the last two weeks I have hung out with a number of adults both young, and middle aged, and those in their second youth. Only one person sat through a meal and talked.

The others were texting, playing games, checking their emails etc. With several I would say something crazy, and lol, each one would say, “Oh great!” They did not hear me.

In this failing to listen we are creating a sense of loneliness that leads to mental illness. Mental illness, outside of the biological types, is largely created through loneliness and isolation.

            Several months ago I tried an experiment. On the corner of Polk and Bush, I laid down, faking a heart attack. In the thirty minutes lying there, people passed by in a hurry, the majority talking or texting on their phones, and not one person saw me. Sad, but true-and that is why I always carry a life alert.

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “All we have to fear is fear itself,” we are so afraid of each other, and in that fear we are hurting ourselves and others.

Jesus has one requirement,that we “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”

Let us put our phones and games away, come out of our self-made isolation and care for others, simply to listen without judgment, and with tenderness, which brings us to wholeness. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min., D.S.T.,

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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