Recently, I wrote to a prisoner who (according to the person requesting the correspondence) had not heard from anyone other than ministers in twenty-plus years!
Quickly, the man wrote back. Interspersed throughout the letter were numerous references to loneliness.
I was already writing to a man who has been in prison over thirty years. During that time, family and friends have drifted. He, too, has been very lonely.
As an only child, I can relate to loneliness. So often, I remember asking my parents why I couldn’t have a brother or a sister! Fortunately, I have grown accustomed to being alone…but there is a difference between choosing to be alone, and being alone when you would rather not be.
I’m saddened when I think of men and women in prison whose family members drift away, and whose friendships cease. I hate when, all too often, there are no productive or rehabilitative activities for prisoners and all they have to do is exist, day after day after miserably long day.
The man whom I recently wrote told me he is in his 70’s and that his health seems to be good. He questions why? He wonders why he should go on?
I have a friend who is reaching out to another friend, whose wife is dying. She is not doing it to become a “significant other” in his life. She is doing it because she recognizes his loneliness and his need for support.
I believe that – wherever we are – it is possible to reach out and make a difference in the life of someone around us. Yes, it is possible to get past that “poor me” attitude today, and reach out. I guarantee that, if you step out of the world that revolves only around you, you will feel better, and so will the person to whom you’re reaching out.