That’s the title of a Fred Rogers song. Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, never shied away from difficult emotions – he said, don’t avoid them, embrace them. This is how we learn who we are and how we can become mature adults, and loving parents.
It’s in that spirit that we continue our “What Is Really Going On?” inter-generational worship series this Sunday, with the topic of Loneliness. Our service title is “Stuck in a Box.”
We will be embracing all the tough things about the pandemic this year (such as anxiety, boredom, or fury), once a month – matters that affect all ages. Maybe I’m starting with loneliness so I can get it out of the way. I hate loneliness and am no veteran of overcoming it, but intellectually, I can see what happens when we do have the courage to embrace it: we can break through to new ways of being that strengthen us, and make us more aware, awake, and compassionate people.
Loneliness is probably the number one emotional health concern of the pandemic, because it affects everyone, not just those of us prone to depression or anxiety. There are lots of suggestions for tamping down loneliness on-line, and I’ll neatly sum those up for us, but mostly I’ll address the spiritual aspects of it that may be harder to pin down.
A few months ago at the end of June, I did a service on solitude. This one will be different – there are no easy answers or platitudes, such as “just turn your loneliness into solitude, dammit!” This will be about confronting loneliness in and of itself – it’s an aspect of our current reality we can’t ignore, and therefore, we will invite it in, share a cup of tea with it, get to know it, and find out what it wants.
See you Sunday!