Loneliness VS Aloneness

imageHello fam! How’re y’all doing?

As is tradition, it occurs to me to write once in a while and I usually write about stuff that unnerves me the most at that point in life.

When I mentioned this topic to a friend, he looked me in my eyes and said…”I hope you’re not suffering from both!”

I was reading an article recently written by a great man, Leke Alder. He pointed out a few things that relate to loneliness and they made me cringe. Hence, I had to start reading about the differences.

As you know, this is a very germane topic. Soooo…let me tell you why I think you’re lonely!

Loneliness is not an easy thing to define. It’s easier to describe the feeling of loneliness than to pin down a definition. We tend to confuse loneliness with aloneness. The reason is because the feeling of aloneness often accompanies loneliness, but aloneness is not loneliness. Even Webster’s dictionary got confused about the definition. It defined loneliness as being sad from being apart from other people. But that is the feeling of loneliness; not loneliness. You and I know you can be in the midst of friends and still feel very lonely. To be sure, being in the midst of people can and does assuage loneliness. Activities ameliorate loneliness. What activities do is block out consciousness of loneliness. I’ll explain.

Loneliness is like being in a strange place, on a very vast terrain of the undefinable. Everywhere you turn there is land and land and land; and everywhere you look there’s sky and sky and sky. The vastness of the terrain makes you feel like the silhouette of a stick figure in the distance, your tunic blowing in the wind. It makes you feel puny, inconsequential, and weak. If you look into the horizon, removed from yourself from far away so you still see yourself, you’ll see the sky kiss the earth but you’ll wonder where exactly you are. You’ll feel lost. Like you’re not accomplishing anything, or doing much with your life. You’ll question what you’ve achieved, regret waste of opportunities – wonder if you shouldn’t have taken certain decisions at certain moments. And it’s too late. It’s like waking up the next morning and the familiar is gone, like the world moved on overnight, leaving you behind. It’s like you know nobody again. There’s this desperation that engulfs you, like your life has no direction, like you’re all alone. Did you see and feel what I was describing? If you’ve been experiencing these feelings or such moods, you’ve been experiencing loneliness.

Loneliness is not the same as alonement. Alonement is a physical phenomenon. Loneliness is a soulish phenomenon. It’s why gifted individuals experience loneliness, why very talented individuals commit suicide, why musicians are prone to extreme behaviour. It’s why pastors struggle with loneliness, what makes them vulnerable to adultery. Unique gifting, consecration and differentiation engender loneliness.

Now, we tend to assume the solution to this “feeling” is sex/companionship. We say things like…”how I wish I was in my ideal relationship” or stuff like “if only sex was a constant this wouldn’t be”. Sorry to burst your bubble: SEX/COMPANIONSHIP doesn’t assuage loneliness.

The reason loneliness cannot be assuaged by mere sex is because loneliness is a soulish phenomenon, it is not a physical phenomenon. This is what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 6:16-17 (MSG) when he wrote, “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin.” Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us lonelier than ever…”

In other words, sex without commitment and intimacy only exacerbates loneliness; it doesn’t cure it. It’s why the Bible contextualises sex within marriage. That’s the definition of intimacy and commitment. Without intimacy and commitment, sex makes us lonelier is what the Bible says.

Let’s take a closer look at Adam. He was the first man to experience loneliness. And so here was this brilliant fellow named Adam. He had a fantastic job. He was spiritual, having demonstrated transcendent capabilities and having fellowshipped with God. And yet he was lonely. We can thus establish three facts:

1). Brilliance will not make you immune to loneliness.

2). A fantastic job cannot resolve the question of loneliness.

3). Spirituality does not ward off loneliness.

I know the last deduction is contrary to some of the teachings we’ve had in church. But the truth is, incessant church attendance has never cured loneliness. Loneliness is not a spiritual issue. It is a soulish issue. There are people who practically sleep in church. That you serve God diligently won’t take away loneliness. The service engages the use of your time and preoccupies your mind to block out contemplation of loneliness, but it cannot take away loneliness. And that loneliness can hit you at unguarded moments, say at the wedding of a friend, or even an enemy.

The point I am trying to make is that loneliness is a fact of life. It is something that afflicts all humans; it’s not peculiar to you. Stop making it your issue. Stop berating yourself over it; stop beating up on yourself, blaming yourself for the past, for missed opportunities. What can you do! The arrow of time flies forward, you can’t edit the past. You’ve got to find yourself and move on!

That’s it! I can’t think of a better to end this so I’d rather recommend two mentors that have influenced my life positively. They’re totally awesome people! You won’t come across them and not think! They are Leke Alder and Olakunle Soriyan!

C’est la vie!


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