As I contemplate life on the farm/ranch, I realize one of the greatest issues we may face as women is loneliness. I recall one evening while my husband, Dave was giving a sleigh ride to some city youth; the female youth group worker took me aside. She was curious to know, “What are those lights off in the distance?” I laughed aloud, “Oh, that’s where our neighbors live.”
She looked at me in astonishment and exclaimed, “What on earth would make you want to live way out here?” This youth leader could not understand how I could live in such a remote area. The funny thing is that I think twenty miles to town is something to be thankful for as I think of some of my friends who’ve lived on much more remote places than I.
It is true. We do live far from each other, not only in actual distance but also in emotional distance. In an era where barn raisings, Sunday school picnics and quilting bees are almost non-existent, I believe we must guard ourselves against a spirit of isolation and independence.
In days gone by, we were forced to depend on each other. It fostered a community attitude that brought families closer together. Today, we can literally live our own lives through the ease of transportation and mechanization. We pride ourselves on looking after ourselves, without being a ‘burden’ to those around us. However, this self-governing, self- reliant and lone-wolf mentality brings us to a place of isolation.
We all know that the isolation chamber in a jail is a form of torture and punishment. Why, then, do we put ourselves in the same situation? We isolate ourselves and pull away from our mate/partner and others because of hurts. However, these walls build up and keep us away from the possibility of fellowship, friendship, companionship and recreation and even love, consolation and empathy.
There are many ways we can move out of our loneliness and isolation. Simply getting out of our ‘comfort zone’ and inviting some neighbors over for coffee, or a meal begins to bridge the gap. Join a social network on the internet such as facebook or twitter and stay connected with others in some way. Volunteer. There are many ways to volunteer and in some instances, a person doesn’t even have to leave home to do it! I have baked many cookies and given them as an ice-breaker to start a relationship with people. Be a blessing to others. You will soon find that you have broken through that loneliness and found a whole new world out there… one in which there are many lonely ones waiting for a friend, one in which there are ones worse off than you are and one in which you may find healing as you extend yourself to others.
“When you’re feeling down and out – like a failure who is falling behind everyone else – that isn’t the time for you to stay away from others, as some are in the habit of doing. That is the very time that you need to come together for the sake of encouragement so you can face your battles more bravely.” Hebrews 10:25 paraphrased
Girls, we need each other. We put up a tough-girl image at times to show our independence and ability; however, we were not designed to live alone. Yes, we may have physical distance between us but our hearts can be connected and we can be there for each other as we walk through life. Living in remote areas poses enough challenges in and of themselves. We hardly need to isolate ourselves even more. With that being said, I’m sure thankful no one lives close enough to look in my windows!
P.S. If you want to connect with me and others, ‘like’ my Facebook page called “Encouragement from the Front Porch.” I will post periodic inspirations and encouragements to help you in your journey through life.