A number of years ago a friend of mine wrote a song entitled “Lonely In A Crowd”. The lyrics talk about the many people we pass each day who look like they’re involved in what’s going on, but are actually lonely people in a crowd. How can someone be lonely in a crowd of people? We see people in every walk of life taking part in life but are they actually involved in the life going on around them? In the midst of a sea of humanity, many people feel lonely and isolated from what’s going on around them.
Looking out my window this week I’m pondering the car window I spent a number of hours looking out during a recent vacation. It started in Rochester, New York and then as we chatted with friends about never being to New York City, a quick trip was planned! After church on Sunday we headed for the Big Apple and by 9 o’clock Sunday night, we were driving around the heart of the city that never sleeps.
Driving around – and walking around – New York City also highlighted the whole idea of being lonely in a crowd. The interesting aspect of the idea of lonely in a crowd came in two very different locations with different emotions. In the midst of the crowds – especially in Times Square – a sense of loneliness was a result of so many people going in different directions. No one making eye contact with heads down low. Add to that, the fact that many different languages were spoken in the crowd it becomes easy to feel lost and lonely as you don’t know what’s going on around you.
The second place of what I could call lonely in the crowd was at the Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center. Also known as Ground Zero, this is the place of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Wandering around the location where so many people lost their lives, looking up at the new tower and praying near the Memorial Gardens where the names of those who lost their lives are remembered, made for a somber moment. We were there at midnight and even though the hour was late, there were still a number of people at the tower. Adding to a sense of seriousness of the moment was the fact that not only was there a strong police presence, but there were also guards standing near the garden areas. The silent sentries stand as a reminder of the fact that the place which once stood in ruins, is now a constant reminder of what happened on September 11, 2001.
In the midst of feeling lonely in a crowd there is a place where we can find peace, healing and comfort. In the Scriptures we’re told of a woman who felt lonely in a crowd as she suffered for 12 years with what is described as an “issue of blood”. In her day this meant she was an outcast and not allowed to interact, speak with or touch anyone or anything around her. After trying everything Matthew tells us one day she heard that Jesus was passing by. Determined to find comfort, this woman made her way quietly through the crowd in the hopes of simply touching the hem of the garment worn by Jesus. She knew just one touch could bring healing and comfort and she was right! What she wasn’t ready for was the reaction of Jesus. “Sensing that power went out from Him, Jesus asked, ‘Who touched Me’?” Fearing a rebuke the woman quietly answer, “It was me”. However, fearing the worse, she received the best as Jesus encouraged her saying “Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you”.
Are you feeling lonely in a crowd today because of your circumstances? If so take comfort in knowing the same Jesus who encouraged the woman so long ago, is still available to encourage you today. All you need to do is reach out to Him.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.