The Loneliness of Crowds

Lonely Crowd

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke”  ― van Gogh

There are two things that I know to be true: (1) Being with other people is essential for our health and survival, and (2) deep within us lies a treasure, filled by our experiences with these people and of course, with God.

We met God because of significant people in our life. All the days of our life, a fire is being built and stoked within us. It is called many things: drive, passion, motivation, calling, even purpose.

We take so much for granted. Think about who you are and what you are becoming. All the social experiences in your life

  • Our parents taught us by word and deed
  • We remember experiences of inspiration
  • We watch the example set by role models
  • Those days in school with teachers and friends (and enemies)
  • We have dreams implanted and shaped in us by all the important people we encounter

Because this inner strength is built by others it is vital that we remain within our social currents throughout all the changing stages of life. We really can’t make it on our own.  But there is always a danger that living in the crowd of others and conflicting ambitions can cause us to loosen our grip on what matters most.

Do you remember what once burned within you? What was it that once drove you onward and enlivened all your daily conversations? Is there now a dark shadow where once that fire in your belly burned?

The everyday journey that now takes us through the darkest places of life and death, at times grows very lonely. Everyone else seems to be riding a carousel.  Only God knows how long is this path. As the days march on, resolve is squeezed aside by all the business of life – distracted like Martha, doing what must be done but in the process, often missing what ultimately matters.

“The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.” (Mark 4:18-19)

The crowded life has mostly superficial interactions and half-filled meanings. Nothing in the crowded life ever satisfies, it only creates the craving for more. A crowded life is sometimes a lonely life. A life starved for meaning, from others and especially the words of God. The words of life.

“Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Keep asking yourself that essential question, what matters most?

The people in your life that matter most can help you find that answer to this question.

One day you may find that the crowd all around has hidden from you the answer to this question.








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