Guideposts

Come Together

SO MANY PEOPLE ARE LONELY these days. Thanks to technology, we live in an increasingly interconnected world, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. Forty percent of Americans report that their social relationships are “not meaningful.” One fifth of people say they’re “lonely or socially isolated.” Nearly a third of older adults live alone.

Loneliness is a physical as well as a mental health problem. Research links prolonged social isolation to higher risks for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death.

I don’t mean to frighten you. But I think it’s important to recognize the costs of our individualistic, on-the-go, screen-hypnotized culture. I speak from personal experience. I’m married to a wonderful husband who works as a chaplain at a military college. We have two children, and we live in a medium-size town where everybody knows everybody else’s business.

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