Thought For The Week, by Laura Baker, December 4, 2015

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I wonder if you are a fan ‘I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here’ on ITV? It’s the second year I’ve watched it and I have to say I’m hooked every evening at 9pm to see the group of celebrities get through trials and how they live together in the jungle. I was really struck by a comment from one celebrity early on: being on their own in a separate camp from the others was the hardest challenge they’d faced. He found being covered in spiders, cockroaches, green ants not as bad as being completely alone in the jungle.

It reminded me of the new John Lewis advert about the older gentleman on the moon. He’s spotted by a little girl with a telescope in her bedroom and she sends him a Christmas present of a telescope so he can see her too. This gift and the sight of her waving at him from earth brings a tear to his eye and probably to many viewers too. He was seen and now has a connection to somebody else.

Loneliness and isolation is very hard at the best of times but at Christmas time, it can become much harder because of the ideals of ‘perfect’ Christmases surrounded by family that permeate our imaginations. Loneliness can feel like a pain, it actually hurts. It hurts our hearts, our self-esteem, and our confidence.

I wish I could say that there was quick way of overcoming it but it takes time and lots of small steps of making small conversations and building up confidence again. It’s also important to remember that lots of people feel lonely, some when they are alone, others when they are surrounded by people. Some people are lonely from bereavement, others from mental health problems, others from having lost contact with people from moving, retiring, becoming a parent, or losing mobility. All sorts of things cause loneliness and it affects so many of us.

If you do feel lonely, perhaps you might like to try a simple prayer. Just talking to God and telling him how you feel might make you feel better and hopefully you’ll be reminded of how much God loves you. But we also need contact with people so consider coming to church. There are lots of friendly people who are interested in how you are and we’d love to meet you.