There was a wonderful public service message produced by the LDS Church years ago called The Mailbox. It shows a sweet old soul walking down her lane to the mailbox each day, hoping for a letter, but seldom getting anything.
A younger woman who runs each day and passes near the mailbox notices the newspaper and pauses to pick it up. She runs down the lane and tosses it on the woman’s porch. Such a little thing . . . but it brightened the older woman’s day and life. She had a connection with someone, however brief.
Have you ever had a feeling of when and how to reach out to someone who was lonely? One of my friends who lost her husband after they’d been married just a few years said that it helped her so much to have someone come by a while later and ask her to talk about her husband. She said that it really made a difference, and that it seemed most people were hesitant, maybe afraid they would say or do the wrong thing.
This probably happens a lot—someone is having a hard time, and we’re not sure what to say or do, so we don’t say or do anything . . . and someone is even lonelier.
Kurt Vonnegut asked, “What should young people do with their lives today?” Then he answered his own question: “Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
Can you think of someone who seems lonely? Is there something you can do?
Can we offer a positive relationship to someone who is hungry and thirsty for attention and kindness, for someone to listen or just to be there?