There is a pandemic in America; there is a disease in America that is killing our marriages, our families, and our young people. This disease is not cancer, diabetes, obesity, or ADD. It is a form of heart disease, but professionals constantly misdiagnose it.
While speaking at a Joint Session of Congress, Mother Teresa was asked by an American Reporter “which is the poorest country she had ever been to?” Mother Teresa said,
“Yes, yes, yes. I have been to many countries and seen much poverty and suffering. Everywhere I go people tell me of their hardships and struggles, and ask for help, and I give what I can. But of all the countries I have been to, the poorest one I have been to is America.” Somewhat shocked, the reporter informed Mother Teresa that America was one of the richest countries and questioned how it could be the poorest. “Because”, she replied, “America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.”
The disease of loneliness is killing our relationships and destroying our hearts. The fact is that all of us were created for relationship—we desperately need relationships that are deep and meaningful. We were born for connection, for relationships.
We were wired to have relationships where we can share our heart with others and listen to their heart. When those relationships are fractured or disconnected we believe something is wrong with ourselves.
Connection is why we are here—it’s what makes life worth living.
Loneliness is often the result of our fears of disconnection because we hide within the dark unnamed places of our heart. We feel we are not athletic enough; not good looking enough; not smart enough.
Henry David Thoreau once said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.’ This feeling that we are all alone darkens our hearts. Loneliness is the great Pandemic in America.
Every morning I take a prayer walk into a wooded park near my home. As I hike, I enter a burned out area from the Black Forest fire last summer. What I see every morning is a burned out, charred, ruined forest that once was so green, lush, and verdant.
It is a reminder everyday of the dark, lonely, broken parts of my heart. It is a reminder of the brokenness that results from shame. Shame can be defined as “the fear of disconnection.” We are full of shame because we fear that our shame, if it is found out, will bring a loss of connectivity. We fear that if our friends really understood what we were truly like, they wouldn’t want to be our friends anymore.
But I don’t stop in the burned out section of the park. I continue to walk to the high bluff in the park. As I turn around and look south and west I’m greeted by the stunning view of the snow capped fourteener, Pike’s Peak.
And, it is there, on that bluff, looking at these majestic mountains, that I renew my heart with the truth of God’s love. I’m reminded not of the burned out forest but the beauty of creation. The beauty of Pikes Peak shines forth with the majesty of God’s natural beauty.
Your heart was created for relationship because each of you were created for love. When Jesus was baptized, his heavenly father said to him, “You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
You are Beloved of God! You are God’s most beautiful creation. When I look up at those mountains each morning, I hear God saying to me “You are beloved, you are beautiful.”
Wherever you go in Colorado Springs, you can’t escape those mountains, and they are a reminder that you are beloved and beautiful. Don’t forget those two B’s of your life—you are beloved and you are beautiful. Receive the belovedness and beauty of Jesus today.
Embrace the loneliness, don’t run from it. But embrace it and implant it into Christ, into his heart for you. Put your shame under the cross and into the heart of Christ. Give it to him. And then renew your mind with the two B’s: you are beloved and you are beautiful. It’s true. It’s the only cure for the pandemic in America.
On the Road,