I was desperately lonely following a divorce some 40 years ago. I was employed in a hotel bar at the time and so had to work long and unsociable hours while watching people having fun and socialising. For me I knew I had to tackle this in the place it was most acute, alone in my bedsit. I had to embrace this loneliness and find God in it and through it. I began to write poems as one way of expressing my feelings. That, plus my Christian faith and friends helped me through this very difficult time.
As a lay minister in the Church of England I would also add that ministers and their families in particular are often lonely. Moving around and never really developing deep relationships and friendships, in part because a minister has to be careful they are not seen as favouring some people over others. All of this can bring an extra burden on them. If the minister is single then it can be very acute. I am now in my mid-sixties and I am wondering about how I could help people develop the skills to engage in contemplative prayer, and possibly to become a rich source of Godly wisdom for those in the thick of busy lives? As I look down the years ahead that is the path I am seeking to follow and prepare for.
Captain Gordon Banks CA, Mothers’ Union member in the Diocese of Lichfield