At corner of my street there used to be a corner store which sold sweets in the old days. At some point in the last 20 years, it was turned into a small studio flat. No bedroom – just one room with a kitchenette on the side.
Sometimes as I walk by I see a single woman watching TV or working on the computer. I wonder what her story is? She might be in her 30’s. Presumably working in order to pay for the flat. No husband or boyfriend – at least none who live with her.
In a sense she’s not alone in London. She’s surrounded by 8 million other people – many of whom live alone as well. Studio or one bedroom flats are the fastest growing segment of the London housing market. Many, many people choose to live alone.
There are good reasons for living alone for a period of time. Death of a spouse, the initial move to the city, or other times of transition may all be valid reasons for living by one’s self.
But I imagine there are many nights sitting alone with the screen. And I can’t imagine that that is the life God intended for people created in his triune image.
The God of the bible is a god of eternal relationship – Father, Son and Spirit. A mysterious bond which models for us what relationships are to be in perfection. Loving. Caring. Supporting. Lasting.
Walter Wangerin wrote that “loneliness feels like a thick, internal bleeding. And worse: the lonely are vulnerable to every little hurt of the world as though each hurt were a blow.”
God’s answer to the pain of loneliness is found in two institutions – the family and the church. Ideally, the marriage and family relationships should reflect the relationships within the trinity. But even in the best of circumstances, there will be people in society without a marriage or immediate family.
This is one, of many good reasons, God has given us the church – the family of God. For our blood or marriage relationships are not enough to fully reflect our Creator. We need the relationships within the local church. Loving. Caring. Supporting. Lasting. Not perfect but reflective nonetheless.
Lonely in London? Yes – there are many. But this does not have to be. May God give us grace to be a people who reflect him relationally in this great city.