Social Isolation

 24 April 2020 |

Social isolation harms people’s mental wellbeing. One of the main reasons for Day Centres for older people is to ensure people get to see and relate to others. A game of bingo, some idle chitchat, eating with others and so on bring great changes in people especially for those who otherwise never see anyone else during their day. Equally harming is the experience of being confined with partners or family; it may begin well but after time we can get on each other’s nerves, can’t we?

Two disciples walking along a road, distraught and depressed over the events of that first Easter, and the death of their Jesus, meet a stranger. The stranger asks: why are you so distressed and full of bleakness; and a conversation begins, which speeds the journey and offers an escape from the disciple’s sense of despair. They share a meal together and suddenly they see, in the stranger, the embodiment of Jesus himself.

The reading is hard to hear at this time of isolation when we long to meet others along the way, or have a coffee with them, or break bread together.

For some, a regular time of prayer can be helpful and again I suggest you might use this prayer from the URC’s prayer handbook from 2014 as a guide. And as you pray, you could add those who are struggling with isolation or those who are forced together and have no escape and especially those affected by domestic violence.

Read Luke 24:13-35, travelling along the Emmaus Road, and pray:

Listening Lord,
let me tell you my story.
Let me tell you what’s happening to me –
let me tell you about me.

I know I go on, Lord, about all kinds of problems.
I know I repeat myself.
I know I rehearse answers in my head –
and then pontificate.

And still you listen,
patiently hearing my words,
listening for my needs and questions.

Help me model your open vulnerability.
Help me learn to sit and wait,
absorbing the stories of others,
not rushing in to offer unwanted solutions,
but patiently hearing out what they say
and quietly being with them,
breaking the bread of your presence with us.

© Martin Hazell 2013